The 80/20 Rule of Seedbed Prep

October 4, 2011 12:08 AM

Head to the field with Ken Ferrie in Episode 2 of "Corn College TV," Season 2. When it’s late in the planting season, farmers need to learn how to make the planter "dance" to push through the finish line.

"A lot of times, 80% of a field is ready to plant. If you let that 20% that is unfit dictate when you plant, you’ll lose yields when it gets later in the calendar," Ferrie says. "Ideally, you’d wait, but sometimes you don’t have that time come June."
In a soil type change, some areas may hold more water, and Ferrie says this is where vertical tillage shines.
"When the fall tillage is done properly, this field would just need to be leveled, which in vertical tillage doesn’t bring up water or cause clods," he says. "This allows Mother Nature and sunlight to do the job."
When moisture is down below, the planter needs to be taught to "dance." Bu using this term, Ferrie means the planter needs to be run as light as possible and properly set.
"We need to realize we have a good planting environment at the surface, and the trick is to leave soil in its place and tuck the seed in," he says. "All we need is the top ½" in good shape. Unfortunately, farmers will move the soil out of the way if the row cleaner is set too aggressively."
Part of fine-tuning your planter performance is also adjusting the down pressure and closing wheel assembly.
Learn more in this episode of "Corn College TV":

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