Planting Post-Mortem, Evaluating Your Planting Strategy

May 25, 2016
Author Stephan Becerra

Hopefully by now most of us are done planting corn and all that is left to work on between rains are the lingering soybean fields. I know in a few areas farmers have been challenged by the cool wet spring and there are some bald patches in fields that will need to replanted, or even planted the first time. While you understandably may be saying to yourself -“I can’t wait for the 2016 planting season to finally be over!”- there is one more important step to take before we park the planter in the shed for the year. The planting process post-mortem.

To be ready for next year, most of us take the time to clean and inspect the planter for damage or to fix wear and tear, but how many of us take the time to think about the process of planting and to record ideas for improvement? This is basically what a post-mortem involves, thinking about any problems you may have run into, how to avoid them and even make improvements in the future. The key to process improvement is becoming disciplined at collecting information. In some cases, with complex processes flowcharting can even be warranted, but at a minimum having a system that works for you to record information and ideas, and taking the time to do so is key.

A good place to start is with your goals, but also asking general diagnostic type questions. For example, did I achieve the desired planting populations, if not why? Are there areas of the fields that I need to pay special attention to as the season progresses or manage differently next year? If I had it to do all over again, would I have started planting in a different field, or if I am contemplating adding to my operation, how would this fit into my planting plans? In theory, the idea of process improvement may seem elementary, but the follow through and execution is where most of us falter. As we all know, each year brings a new set of challenges, so it’s hard to make improvements based on only one year of information. Doing this right requires a long-term commitment to process improvement. A planting post-mortem is like anything else in that you will get out of it what you put into it.

Categories: Corn, Management     Tags: 2016 Planting, Hoegemeyer Hybrids, Management, Planting Tips, Stephan Becerra    

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