An agronomist said it best, “We have one chance to get this crop in the ground right.”
Having been said, let’s review the fundamentals of planting.
“Little things, like planting depth, can add to your yield and bottom line,” says Rich Lee, Golden Harvest agronomist in east central Iowa. Lee encourages producers to “go back to the fundamentals,” especially in a year where business could be tight financially.
“One of the things I stress is, ‘Watch your planting depth,’” Lee said. “Making sure we get seed placed at uniform, planting depth. We want to get it down about an inch and three-quarters for corn, and generally a little bit shallower for soybeans. When I see problems in a field, a lot of times (it) is because it was shallow planted. When we shallow plant, we get uneven soil temperatures and don’t get as good of a seed bed.”
Fundamentals, such as planting depth, come at no cost to the producer. Yet by paying attention to the fundamentals, producers may see a significant return to their operation.
A University of Nebraska-Lincoln study suggests proper seed placement can result in a 50 bushel per acre yield difference in corn. In soybeans, proper seed placement can lead to a 15 bushel per acre yield difference.
Farmers can select the right hybrids for their operation. However, Lee says the right hybrids can under perform, if not planted properly.
“There’s a lot of good products out there, but in the wrong situation, they could be the wrong product. Placement, getting the right seed on the right acres, is important. This is the time of year where we have time to sit down and get a plan laid out before we get into the rush of planting,” Lee said.