At the beginning of every growing season, we have hopes and goals in maximizing our yields. We spend countless hours conducting soil tests, working on fertilizer application maps, talking to our seed dealers to place “THE RIGHT SEED” on the correct field and creating Variable Rate Seeding maps. Even though all these things are very important, we still seem to forget about the most important piece of equipment we have in the shed; the planter. In many instances, we only have one chance of planting a field correctly and if we don’t have the planter in tip-top condition we will miss out on achieving our goal.
There are many other things that we need to consider in achieving our yield goals.
Proper fertility will support that plant all year long.
Planting timing is essential for proper emergence. You want your corn plants to all emerge within 24-48 hours of each other to achieve a consistent ear size throughout the field.
You need to have a good seedbed to create a favorable zone for the seed to flourish. A good seed environment will also help create a root zone conducive to good development, giving the roots the ability to take up nutrients.
All these field conditions work together in achieving that yield goal, but it’s important to inspect your planters prior to pulling them in the field, as well as when you are in the field.
You want to give your seed the best start, so we’ve created a handy checklist to guide you while the planting is still in the shed AND when it gets to the field.
Pre-Season Planter Checklist: In the Shed
Chains, sprockets and idlers
Wheels and Tires
Drive Wheel centered
Prefer if not ran off of seed drives
Air bags/Hydraulic lines
Make sure they are square
Shape of the hole
Row Unit Drives
Make sure it matches up with meter drives
Sprockets and Idlers
¼” higher than the disk openers
Gauge wheel arms
Rubber tire in good condition and touching disk opener
Disc diameter 14.5”, except Case IH 13.5”
Contact point 2-2.25”, except for Kinze 3000 1-1.25” and Case IH just making contact
Staggered wheel setup
Pre-Season Planter Checklist: In the Field
Toolbar is level when in the ground
Dig a cross section
Not with the row
Check micro environment
Check in EVERY field
Seed tube delivery
Row unit bounce
Physical seed movement
Footprint must be present
Give it the finger test
No air pockets
Set to remove residue, clods and rocks
Close the trench
Firm around the seed
NOT 10 mph
Get that proper seed placement and spacing by doing a little work while the planter is still in the shed. Use this checklist as a guideline to help prepare your planter. Consult your planter manual or dealer for exact tolerances of your equipment.
-Stuart Carlson, Northern Region Product Agronomist
I don’t know about you, but spring planting season is probably the part of the job I enjoy the most. As we move from winter into spring and it starts to green up, getting out in the field again is always a great feeling. So far, the spring of 2019 has brought below average temperatures for the majority of February and March. Mother Nature has just had a hard time coming out of winter, but it's looking like a warm up is on the horizon. Here are some items to watch out & consider as you begin spring planting 2019:
Soil Temperature @ 50 Degrees: A good rule of thumb for when to start planting corn is when soils reach an average soil temperature of 50⁰or above every morning at 7:00 A.M. for a week. When soils are cooler than 50⁰, typically emergence will be delayed for a few weeks. The longer the seed sits in cold soils, the more potential for exposure to pathogens, reducing the chance of germination.
Imbibitional chilling: Imbibitional chilling occurs when seed is planted, begins to germinate and then the soil temperature drops below 50⁰. This will typically happen if seeds are planted into soil above 50⁰ and then we catch a cold rain, freezing rain or a snow storm that brings to soils temperature down. Imbibitional chilling causes cells to rupture leading to corkscrewing of the mesocotyl. This can either delay emergence or possibly inhibit emergence if the coleoptile can’t get through the soil surface. Other symptoms of imbibitional chilling include aborted radicles, proliferation of seminal roots, delayed seedling growth and potential for disease pathogens to attack the young seedling.
Sidewall compaction: Planting into fields that are too wet will typically cause sidewall compaction. Even waiting an additional 24 to 48 hours can reduce the potential for sidewall compaction. Remember we only get one chance to plant most fields so waiting for soils to dry out can make a big difference in a field’s yield potential.
Planting season only comes once a year and there is nothing more important for setting ourselves up for maximum yields than getting a good even stand on all of our acres. So, be patient- wait until soils are fit for planting, make sure soil temperatures are sufficient, and delay planting if the forecast calls for cool wet weather. These tips will help avoid early season problems in our fields and get your seed started off on the right track.
If you have any questions feel free to contact your local Hoegemeyer DSM or Agronomist.
-Craig Langemeier, Western Region Product Agronomist
This Spring is not being overly cooperative to most of Hoegemeyer’s footprint, the Western Corn Belt. In the coming weeks, the ground will slowly start to dry out and warm up, we feel it’s an important reminder that the planting date may not be as important as making sure soil conditions permit a healthy, unharmed stand of crops.
Several problems may surface when corn is planted into inadequate conditions. These problems can also cause a ripple effect long into the growing season.
Sidewall compaction has a big effect on both nutrient uptake and root strength. While we normally relate sidewall compaction to nutrient uptake and stunted growth, it can also be highly detrimental later in the year due to root lodging from insufficient root growth. Sidewall compaction is more of an issue in heavier soils, so if you have highly variable soils in your area it is important to keep that in mind.
Many seedling diseases enjoy the wet environment a lot of corn may be planted into this Spring. While our standard LumiGEN™ seed treatment can considerably control many of these diseases, it is important to remember that these cool, wet conditions do not help its case.
We understand it is hard to stay out of the field and lay idle after that first-planting insurance date passes, but the yield loss from compaction and diseases will be much higher than the lost GDUs from trying to get the corn planted early. Be patient and make sure your fields’ moisture conditions are right and soil temperatures are at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit consistently throughout the field to ensure a quick and even emergence.
-Jonathan Williams, Southern Product Agronomist
Planting into Cold Soils
Planting season has started in the Southern Hoegemeyer footprint and planters will be rolling across the Midwest soon. Let’s review proper plant seeding depth for corn. There are a few inputs such as foliar fungicides and insecticides which we still have at our disposal if the situation warrants. But for the most part we are at the mercy of Mother Nature in terms of temperature, rainfall and sunlight intensity which are key factors for yield. Prior to that however, there are several things that are very much in our control. Rapid establishment of a uniform crop is of utmost importance if you want to even have a shot at approaching full yield potential at the end of the year.
How deep should I plant corn?
Corn seed to be planted between 1.75 and 3 inches.
Does planting date influence how deep I should plant?
Although some people believe that early planting should be planted shallower so the seed gets in warmer soil this is not true. Even your earliest planted fields should be dropped at the same 1.75 to 3 inch planting depth. The only time we would plant deeper would be if we needed to find moisture to get the seed to germinate, but never shallower.
What are some of the detrimental effects of shallow planting?
As simple as it may sound, shallow planting depth with corn can lead to many significant problems. When seed is planted too shallow, fewer root nodes are able to establish beneath the soil which leads to a restricted and overall lesser root mass. Plants may emerge uneven; lodge later in the year; be more prone to nutrient deficiency symptoms early in the year; have reduced water uptake under drought; and be more prone to rootless corn syndrome if soils are dry early in the year. Anything less than 1.75 inches is typically not ideal for most soils.
How can I make sure I’m getting proper planting depth?
Make sure you get your planter out in the field a few days ahead of when you want to start planting. You will have time to make some last-minute tweaks to ensure the planter in properly set before getting into the field for the season. Also make sure to check the planter every few hours and especially when changing fields with varying soil types.
Any portion of yield potential lost early in the season is gone for good with little chance of recovery in full no matter how favorable the growing season is later in the year. Getting planting right is one of the most important things we can manage.
If you have questions, contact your local Hoegemeyer agronomist, district sales manager or dealer.
A successful 2018 harvest begins with proper hybrid selection and planting in the spring. Several factors impact how hybrids will live up to high-yield expectations and no two fields are the same. Your experience coupled with Hoegemeyer’s product placement recommendations will help you place the right seed in the right field.
How to ensure optimum hybrid placement:
Soil-type dynamics: Your soil tells a story and selecting the right hybrid for your soil profile is critical. Whether you are farming sandy soils with less than 1% organic matter or soils with high pH issues we can help you decide what products will not just survive, but produce above trend line yields on those acres.
The past five years we have ramped up our high pH and sand testing program, and gathered replicated trial test results to help you make more informed decisions about what hybrid to select for these challenging environments. We have found Hoegemeyer 7088 AM™ Family, 7606 AM™ Family, 7946 Family, 8326 AM™ Family, and 8414 AM™ Family products have been out yielding the competition on these challenging (both sand and high pH) acres.
Trait mix: Hoegemeyer is committed to offering a complete line-up of corn hybrids that have both options across several different trait platforms as well as genetically unrelated products to help you diversify your product portfolio. We provide you with traits you need whether that be a conventional product for the specialty market; Roundup only refuge products; a double stack product for those rotated acres; or a triple stack for corn on corn.
Having different trait packages and genetic diversity on a farm are a great way to help mitigate risk depending on the weather, insect pressure and differences from one growing season to the next.
Planting population: Every hybrid handles planting populations differently. Hoegemeyer conducts extensive research on hybrid response to various planting populations. Some hybrids will excel at low planting populations, while others will need high planting populations to maximize yield. We publish population recommendation sheets that base plant populations on yield goals. Based on the hybrids you plant, you can use this guide to advise you on how many seeds need to be planted per acre to maximize yield.
Environmental stress: Hoegemeyer has several products with excellent drought tolerance. Over the past several growing seasons I would be willing to bet many of you have used an Optimum® AQUAmax® product. We have been fortunate in the Western Corn Belt with rain the past few growing seasons but as they say “we are only a week away from the next drought.” These products will yield in times of drought and when moisture in plentiful.
Goss’s wilt tolerance is another key factor for product selection. Just because we haven’t seen it widely the past few years doesn’t mean with the right weather pattern it isn’t there ready to attack. If Goss’s wilt has been an issue in the past make sure to plant a tolerant product to reduce yield loss from this bacterial pathogen again.
Harvest timing and maturity mix: If you’re farming several quarters and you plant all 112 day corn hybrids, all hybrids may pollinate, need a fungicide and be ready for harvest on the same day. By planting a mix of genetics and maturities we can help mitigate these risks. We have products that flower at different times, different levels of disease tolerance and products that will stand long into the fall. Make sure you are planting a good mix of genetics, maturities and traits to mitigate risk on your farm.
End use: Another important part of hybrid selection should be based on what is the end use of the product being planted. Hoegemeyer has data that will showcase which hybrids work best for either beef or dairy silage. We have several good options across a range of maturities that will work for both grain as well as silage.
These key placement tips are good reminders as you develop and finalize your 2018 planting plan.For more information about product placement, contact your Hoegemeyer seed representative or refer to your seed guide for optimum ratings and recommendations.