Take extra steps now to prep for planting
The crop management decisions you make this fall will set you up for success or headaches next spring. As you finish harvest and start to plan for 2023, take these steps.
FOCUS ON FERTILIZER APPLICATIONS
Dry field conditions helped keep harvest progress moving, but the lack of precipitation is concerning, says Ken Ferrie, Farm Journal Field Agronomist.
The most immediate challenge is for those farmers who want to make fall anhydrous ammonia applications.
“When the soil temperature drops, and moisture is not available, fall applications of anhydrous are going to be nearly impossible to get sealed,” Ferrie explains.
If dry soils are cloddy and do not seal properly, the ammonia can be lost at injection or seep through the large pores between clods after application.
EVALUATE HYBRID FLEX
Dry summer weather left many farmers disheartened until the combine rolled at harvest. Some hybrids found a way to add yield late in the season. Isaac Ferrie, Crop-Tech Consulting agronomist, says it’s important to know how and when ears flex.
“They can flex in girth or rows around, in length and in kernel depth,” Isaac says.
Girth is established between V4 and V6, he says, and so those hybrids should be managed carefully during that growth stage. Hybrids that flex in kernel depth, will see the most impact during the last 40 days of the season.
“We want to do anything we can to mitigate stress during that time period, especially if that is when it is most susceptible to truncating yield,” Isaac says.
If possible, focus on managing water, irrigation and fungicide applications to preserve yield on kernel depth flexing hybrids. Hybrids always start with maximum potential, which means flex happens downward.
PREP NEXT YEAR’S SEEDBED
Dry conditions are allowing for consistent and beneficial tillage this fall.
“A big plus is we get good shatter from fall tillage,” Ken Ferrie says. “For those doing vertical tillage, you won’t have to go as deep to achieve full shatter. Be sure to check behind your equipment to confirm.”
Rhonda Brooks leverages 35 years of experience and farm roots to report on seeds, agronomy and inputs.