Prepare for a Tough Planting Season

March 11, 2010 06:00 PM

The following information is a Web Extra from the pages of Farm Journal. It corresponds with the article "What A Mess!” by Darrell Smith. You can find the article on page 14 in the March 2010 issue.
We couldn't begin to cover every situation you're likely to face this spring in just one story. Here are some articles that can help you prepare for what could be your toughest planting season ever.  
Controlling winter annual weeds
Plan Your Weed Control Strategy, Mid-February 2010 
Because two wet springs and two wet falls threw many growers off their normal tillage or herbicide programs, populations of winter annual weeds have surged. If you fail to control them before planting, those weeds can turn planting season into a nightmare, making it impossible to create a uniform seedbed and crimping yields right from the git-go.
Managing carbon to maximize yield
As explained in the adjacent story, microbes tie up soil nitrogen (N) as they decompose old-crop residue. This can cause corn plants to be starved for N in their critical early stages. These articles explain the nitrogen cycle and tell you how to manage nitrogen fertilizer to "pay the carbon penalty” and keep your corn plants from going hungry.
Coping with soil compaction 
Compaction Reaction, Mid-November, 2009
As if soil compaction caused last fall by ruts and wheel tracks wasn't enough to deal with, pinch-row compaction is becoming more common. Compaction in rows adjacent to wheel tracks has always been with us; but today's heavier tractors and center-fill planters, which concentrate weight on a few rows, are making it worse. The heavier the tractor and the wetter the ground, the more compaction you get.
Typically, pinch-row compaction reduces yields by 5 bu. per acre to 7 bu. per acre. But in severe situations, Farm Journal Staff Agronomist Ken Ferrie has seen yields reduced by as much as 50 bu. per acre.
Fixing compaction in your fields
Dig for Higher Yields, February, 2009
The tracks and ruts resulting from 2009's swampy harvest conditions—and the tillage pans you create this spring as you deal with them--make it more important than ever to scout fields for compaction and dense soil layers (they're not the same thing) and plan a program to fix them. This story tells you how to do it.
Fighting off disease
Beat Back Disease, March, 2009
Corn diseases will be particularly threatening this year, and for several more, because of inoculum being carried over in old crops residue. This article can help you minimize opportunities for disease to get a foothold. It will tell you how to prioritize your fields for scouting, so you can react to disease threats.

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