In most areas of the Corn Belt, preparations for planting season are well underway. Farmers are busy monitoring soil conditions and temperatures and prepping their equipment before they get in the field.
Making sure planters are properly maintained and safely prepped for planting season is an important topic in the industry right now. As Michael Gustafson of Iowa Farmer Today recently wrote, “the planter really sets the stage for a successful crop.” Planters need to be properly maintained to ensure the correct spacing and seed depth are set and that all systems run smoothly so that there aren’t any equipment problems that could cause delays in planting. To ensure proper seed placement, growers need to make sure that the row units are in good shape and the seed tubes aren’t showing any signs of wear. Disc blades need to be inspected to make sure there aren’t any chips and cracks, and gauge wheels need to be in good shape to make sure the row units are in proper contact with the ground. Having a fully functional planter really does set the stage for the entire season, and Michael Gustafson provides some excellent tips to prep your planter this season.
Weather is also a big-ticket item for growers right now. If temperatures remain above average for many parts of the corn-growing areas, soil temperatures will increase, which may mean an earlier start for corn planting. Of course, above average rainfall in April can cause growers to switch some of their planned corn acres to soybeans. It is recommended that growers wait until the soil temperature reaches at least 50 degrees for three or more consecutive days before they begin planting to help ensure good germination and emergence. Growers should also try to avoid planting in cool, wet and water-logged soil, which can lead to long-term problems such as sidewall compaction, poor seed/soil contact, poor germination and inconsistent stands. Monitor field conditions on an individual basis and plant when the field is fit. To help your planting prep, check out Ag Professional’s recent article that highlights the Midwest weather outlook.