Margin Minute: Avoid These Planting Mistakes

April 17, 2017 02:14 PM

Always plant corn and soybeans based on your soil and environmental conditions, not your emotions. Too many farmers time their decisions around arbitrary dates,  and that can be an expensive mistake, says Chris Barron, an Iowa producer with Ag View Solutions.

“We don’t want the calendar to dictate a lot of the things we’re thinking through,” Barron explains. “Don’t let that cause us to go out and do some things in terms of conditions that might be costly.”

For example, suppose a farm makes five mistakes:

  1. It plants crops when soil conditions are too cold.
  2. It plants crops when soils are too moist.
  3. It leaves tracks in moist fields, resulting in NH3 loss.
  4. It creates compaction during tillage.
  5. It creates compaction during planting.

Now imagine the farm averages 200 bu. per acre and earns $4 an bushel. If each of those five poor decisions creates 1% in yield loss, for a total of 5% overall loss, the farm would lose 10 bu. per acre. The resulting financial penalty would be $40 per acre, Barron points out.

That means while it’s important to know when your planting season can begin and end in terms of crop insurance and prevent planting, respectively, it’s more important to understand whether conditions are conducive to planting.  “We’re talking real money,” Barron says.

Rest assured most farmers will get between 30 and 40 days of optimal planting time to achieve all yield potential, Barron says, and up to 10 additional days on either side of that window to achieve close to 99% yield potential.

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Spell Check

St charles, MO
4/18/2017 06:37 AM

  come farm true gumbo in the Mississippi River bottoms and u might change some of your text book advice.

Mark R. Macpherson
Shedd, OR
4/19/2017 10:33 AM

  So if I listen it's ok to possible delay planting g up to 40 days on 118 day corn? What about harvest? It gets wet. I think a 1-2% decline in yield verses not getting a crop in or destroying you soil is well worth the hit. I agree with Bill. Sounds like it's right out of a textbook. Those who can, do.......


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