We were happy to see a conversation started on Farmers for the Future recently surrounding people who have been able to get out into the field to start planting or preparing their fields. Finally – warm weather!
We recently spoke with Mark Grundmeier, Latham Seed Product Manager, who provided us with 5 tips to maximize your yields this season.
#5 – Planting Date: The trend has been to plant earlier and earlier over the past decade. While this practice has, in general, increased yields, there are some pitfalls to watch for and avoid. Avoid planting into soils that are too wet. This practice ALWAYS causes problems later due to side-wall compaction and/or uneven emergence. When planting soybeans into cool soils, consider the use of a fungicide seed treatment such as Latham® SoyShield to prevent the advent of seedling diseases.
#4 – Planting Depth: Ideal planting depth for corn is 2 inches and for soybeans it is 1½ inches. Some may still tell you to “plant to moisture” but this is seldom a good practice. If the soil moisture level is too deep, planting to that depth can cause delayed emergence, uneven stands and possibly even stands that are crusted over if you would receive a hard, pounding rain right after planting. Planting too shallow will often result in poor root development and may affect the crop all the way to harvest.
#3 – Row Spacing: There has been and will continue to be much debate on which row spacing provides the optimum yields for both corn and soybean. In general, soybeans seem to respond most favorably to spacings between 15 inches to 20 inches. If you are planting in rows that are wider or even narrower than this, consider running some side-by-side comparisons on your fields to see which spacing might be best for your farming operation. For corn, 30-inch row spacings is still the most popular, but there are many farmers experimenting with 20-inch rows and also twin-row systems. Again, running trials on your own fields will help determine what is right for you.
#2 – Weed Control: Before planting, always start with a clean field. Even in years when planting might be delayed due to wet conditions, allowing weeds to get ahead of the crop is not a good practice. Remember that the objective of herbicide applications is to save yield, not just to kill weeds!
#1 – Hybrid/Variety Selection: Choosing the right corn hybrid or soybean variety is the most important decision you make year in and year out. Selection should be based on past yield performance (in multiple trials conducted in like field conditions and comparing like maturities), past disease or pest problems that have been identified and taking into consideration farming practices used (e.g. early planting, narrow rows, no-till, etc.). Seed selection should not be based strictly on cost of the seed, seed size or what may have worked well for a neighbor/friend.
If you have any questions we can help answer regarding planting, just type it in to the field below and we’ll reply shortly!