Agronomy: Old School And New Tools

02:14PM May 25, 2018
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This blog could also be titled “When bad things happen to good people.”

Planting is just the start of the crop. And unfortunately, when destructive storms hit early in the season, it can cut off the season’s success at the knees.

One issue: crusting.

As Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer says, “With severe crusting, a rotary hoe can help save the plants that are there. Hoes will crack open the crust and break up the surface to allow plants to emerge easier.”

But she cautions, for a rotary hoe to be the rescue tool, farmers need to be timely in making the decision to make the pass across the field. Here are some tips to compare the risk of damaging emerged plants v. the plants you are trying to save that are still underground:  

  • Set flags in an area of the field--one color for plants that are above ground, and one color for plants expected to be underground.
  • Then run the hoe through the area and do an evaluation.

Issue No. 2: Hail

Hail can be destructive. As a University of Nebraska-Lincoln CropWatch bulletin reported, complete defoliation of V2 to V5 corn resulted in yield losses from 8.7% to 23%, respectively.

No doubt, our weather radar has gotten more advanced with better technologies. And now, there are many agtech solutions that give farmers alerts when a hail event occurred at their field.

Here’s a sampling of technologies helping farmers track hail events so then they can be timely in their scouting and reaction: