Seeds for Success

By Dakota Miller
Cutting Edge Consulting and Research Services

A warm spell this spring has a lot of growers out in the fields earlier than what they may usually be. Most planting will be firing up here in the next couple of weeks in the center of the Corn Belt, so it is good as time as any to remind yourself of some key things to remember as we dive into the season.

FIRST. Do you know the quality of all the seed products in your shed? Do you know the warm and cold germ scores along with how many abnormals there are? If not, that is a good question to be asking or a sample could be sent in for testing. In our findings, the stand of corn that emerges is usually a close resemblance of the cold germination score. That first drink of water the seed takes is more often than not a cold one which can cause more stress than the warm germination test accounts for. Although we say the stand closely resembles the cold germination score, there are many other factors that contribute to the quality and quantity of stand we see emerge as a response to HOW that crop was planted.

About 75% of yield is determined the day we plant, so paying close attention to the details during planting brings great return to those growers doing these extra steps.

  1. Have the POSITIVE and RIGHT mindset to plant a great stand of corn that day!
    • Your crop can only be as good as your mindset towards it
    • Think like a 300 bpa corn grower and a 90 bpa soybean grower
  2. Determine if conditions are right to even pull the planter into the field, or get a second opinion on the conditions from a money maker on your Circle of Influence.
    • Look for firm and fit planting conditions
    • NO smearing of sidewalls
    • Have you looked at the forecast to know what conditions/temperatures that seed will potentially imbibe water in?
  3. Observe residue management and if it is being moved away from the seed bed
    • Residue next to seed can result in delayed emergers and less ears/acre at the end of the year
  4. Look at the tongue of the planter and row units to assure they are running level.
  5. Plant between 3.8-4.4 mph, NOT 5 mph+
    • There is less unit bounce and more consistent planting depth at slower speeds
    • Planting slower results in a more consistent emergence and stand with fewer delays
  6. STOP, GET OUT, and DIG.
    • Nothing verifies like ground truthing for depth, conditions, spacing, residue management, etc.
    • Check planting depth
      • Remember IN CORN we are shooting for a 2 ¼” – 2 ½” planting depth to compensate for settling to get a final depth of 2”. At this depth, we will be able to take advantage of a more consistent environment (temp & moisture) and develop another node of roots to lead to a strong stand of corn.
      • IN SOYBEANS we are shooting for a planting depth of 2” to account for settling for a final of 1 ¾” depth
    • Check spacing. Keep in mind the area of the field you are checking, and any variable rate planting done. Spacing between seeds will determine what population is being dropped and will show how well the planter is singulating.

Again, MINDSET is key to having a successful crop. The right mindset must be kept ALL season long to keep feeding and caring for the crop with the same attention to detail that is required at planting time. Never give up on a crop, and always go back and check your cropping plan for the season. That plan should already be in place for how the crop will be placed, planted, and managed throughout the season to bring more profitability/acre and if there isn’t, start planning and booking products (e.g. fungicides, insecticides, foliar products) right away to maximize what a great crop 2021 could bring.

Have a happy and safe planting season!

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