Part 2 Planter Prep Series: Hope for the Best But Plan for Anything

March 15, 2016 02:32 PM
Part 2 Planter Prep Series: Hope for the Best But Plan for Anything

Use this 5 part series to prep your planter and plan your planting strategy

At this point in the winter, spring can’t come fast enough. Longer days, warmer temperatures and hints of green will be here before you know it. Don’t waste time that could be spent prioritizing and planning for what’s to come and prepping your planter. In tight margins, using your time, resources and inputs wisely is even more important. —Staff report

Mother Nature tends to throw a wrench in even the best laid plans. How will you be able to adjust and roll with the punches? asks Mark Licht, Iowa State University Extension cropping systems agronomist. “Think through and be ready to make decisions,” he says.

Rain and other delays might mean weeds have more time to establish, affecting herbicide timing and placement. If that’s the case, consider a burndown or a more aggressive pre-emergent herbicide.
Based on how much, if any, nitrogen was applied in the fall and the weather forecast for the spring, decide when it’s best to apply nitrogen, Licht says. If the forecast calls for a lot of rain early, it’s probably best to split apply and avoid excess leaching. “Look at it from economic and usability perspectives,” he says.

You’ve likely purchased seed by now, so it’s time to finalize in what order and where you want to plant certain hybrids and varieties. Consider factors such as how the product performs in wet soils, dry soils, different soil types and fertility levels to decide where the seed fits best. Remember, weather and other delays mean you need to remain flexible until the last seed is in the ground.

Establish your priorities and what you’re willing to sacrifice in a crunch. Is planting date your No. 1 priority? Reducing weed pressure? Applying necessary nutrients, even if it pushes back planting date? You need to have a plan A, plan B, etc., to help you remain focused on the bigger picture and avoid an emotional decision, Licht says.

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