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Start from the Ground Up

October 25, 2010
By: Margy Eckelkamp, Farm Journal Machinery Editor and Test Plot Director

The perfect seedbed starts in the fall. That’s one lesson to learn from Episode 2 of Corn College TV.

“After harvest when you are in the field doing primary tillage, make sure it’s at the proper depth,” says Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer. “Pay attention in the fall to set the stage for spring.”

Bauer says that if it’s too rough you won’t be able to get the field leveled off in the spring.  

“Whoever is running the tillage tool needs to understand what the planter can and can’t do because of a poor fall tillage pass.”

Then in the spring, focus on ensuring the field is level and sizing residue.

“With the leveling pass, keep in mind that your target is uniform planter pass,” Bauer says.
Beware of creating clods, which can cause a lot of problems with uneven emergence. If moisture conditions are too wet, wait until the field dries to avoid creating clods.”

Bauer continues by saying the second responsibility of the spring tillage pass is sizing the residue.

“You don’t want to have residue pinched in the seed trench,” she cautions. “The smaller the residue the better it’ll flow through the planter.”

Overall, Bauer says to focus on creating a good rooting environment.

“You do not want to create a density layer or something that will limit root growth, so be mindful of compaction.”

You can learn more in Episode 2 of Corn College TV.

Episode2 falltillageperfectseedbed

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