Uniform stand establishment is a critical component in achieving maximum yield potential. With unexpected weather and other uncontrollable factors often impacting the crop’s stand, it is even more important to be proactive in the areas that can be controlled. Fortunately, there are steps to help get your crop off to a strong start and encourage a strong and healthy stand.
1. Seed Selection
Each season it all starts with selecting your seed. There are multiple considerations growers need to be aware of when selecting the appropriate seed, including the geography, any unique field conditions, potential impact from weeds, disease and pests, maturity timing, etc. These considerations need to be evaluated in cooperation with your farm management practices to ensure the best results. Read more on considerations for seed selection, for soybeans and for corn.
2. Seed Spacing
Uniform seed spacing is instrumental to giving your crop a good start. Uneven seed spacing can cost money due to potential yield reduction. To ensure proper and uniform seed spacing, it’s important to make sure your planter is properly calibrated before planting and at the appropriate intervals during planting. Because equipment and field conditions vary, check your equipment manual or with your dealer for the best recommendations for your circumstances. You also want to make sure that your entire planter has been inspected prior to planting and that all the parts are in good working order to make sure your planter is at its best during this very important time.
3. Seed Depth
Planting your seed at a uniform seed depth with good seed-to-soil contact is crucial. Keep in mind that each crop has its own optimum seeding depth.
If seeds are planted too shallow it may adversely impact the crop’s stand. If the roots are not deep enough, they may not be able to support the plant as it matures, which can result in corn plants falling over. It can also result in rootless corn syndrome. When roots are not deep enough, it can also be harder for them to access water in the soil. If seeds are planted too deep, it may take longer for them to emerge, making them more susceptible to disease or pests. Proper down force control during planting is important to maintaining consistent seed depth within a row and within the field. Since field conditions vary, consider your field and make proper adjustments to your planter to ensure optimum seed depth during planting.
4. Uniform Emergence
Uniform emergence also helps achieve better yield. When plants emerge at different rates the smaller plants are at a disadvantage in competing for sunlight and other important resources, but as they try to get the resources to survive, the smaller plants can also negatively impact the larger plants. For best results, it’s recommended that all plants emerge within 24-48 hours of each other. To help growers achieve consistent seed spacing, seed depth and uniform emergence within a small planting window, many are relying on precision farming equipment to plant their crops.
In-furrow application is a proven way to ensure the fertilizer gets as close to the seed as possible at planting. With growers planting earlier than ever, fertilizer applied in-furrow will help the seed receive as much support as possible while emerging into cooler or unpredictable environments.
All of these factors are important because growers only want to plant the field one time. This makes it crucial to get it right the first time!
Original Source: Leaders of In-Furrow Technology, West Central