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When to Bust the Crust with a Rotary Hoe

April 30, 2012
By: Margy Eckelkamp, Director of Content Development, Machinery Pete

When fields crust over and corn doesn’t emerge stress can lead to a state of paralysis in decision making.

“A lot of times when farmers are thinking about rotary hoeing when they should have done it yesterday,” says Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer.
She walks through an in-the-field example in episode 4 season 2 of Corn College TV.
“With severe crusting, a rotary hoe can help save the plants that are here. Hoes will crack open the crust and break up the surface to allow plants to emerge easier,” she says.
There is a decision making process before you head to the field with the hoe.
“You need to compare the plants that have emerged and could be damaged versus the plants you are trying to save from leafing out underground,” she says.
Set flags in an area of the field--one color for plants that are above ground, and one color for plants underground. Then run the hoe through the area and do an evaluation.
“A lot of times, guys run the rotary hoe too late. Make the decision quickly before you damage too many plants or the ground gets so hard you can’t improve the condition.”
Learn more in this episode of Corn College TV.

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