By Louis Sutton
AgVenture Product Manager & Agronomy Lead
Planting season has gone well so far, with Monday’s USDA Crop Progress Report stating that 8% of US corn is in the ground, along with 4% of US soybeans. Both numbers are ahead of last year’s progress and the five-year average.
Just like US farmers have a lot of acres left to plant, there is also still room for concern in this planting season. As farmers you have really two times to impact your bottom line: one is at planting and the other is harvest.
Personally, the most damage I see is during planting. It can be easy to jump in the planter when the sun is shining and the weather is pleasant, but your fields might not be ready for that seed just yet.
The first issue that I see is planting before the soil is ready. Doing this compact the soil or causes sidewall compaction; both happen because we are in a hurry. Billions of bushels are lost this way each year and will be again this year.
The second issue I see each year is planting too early. It’s easy to look at the date on the calendar and think it’s time to start planting. When it comes to the weather forecast, most farmers look out five days when they should really look 10 to 14 days ahead to see what weather will come their way. Temperatures below 28 degrees can kill the seed in the ground if it has started to swell with water. At 24 degrees, it will most certainly kill the seed. We are going to have that weather this weekend in many areas where planting is already underway.
Since this is the time you make decisions that impact most of your bottom line, take the time to slow down, make a plan and get planting right.