Planting Effective Plots

Quality data can only be achieved through quality plots. Establishment of the plot is critical we need to be aware of the following things:

Pre plant preparation

• Stakes, forms, GPS unit, safety equip.
• Check plot seed inventory – do you have the hybrids you want
• Plan ahead– If possible plant the plot early in the season.

Successful Plot establishment

• Site is level and of one soil type
• Watch for dead furrows
• Identifications stakes – 2 per variety in the corn row
• Documentation – fully completed (includes soil type, tillage, previous crop etc.)
• GPS location or map to find site
• Correct planting depth
• Population – watch seed size and changes in population
• Leave documentation with dealer or NK rep.

In season Assessment

Monitor that the stakes are correct
Trim fronts or make a path to and along the front of the plot for easier access.

Assessments

• Spring Vigour
• Flowering/pollination
• Pest pressure – insect/weed/disease
• Maturity – milk line or black layer

Harvest assessment

• Population
• Lodging
• Pest pressure – insect/weed/disease
• Stalk integrity – push test
• Moisture
• Test weight
• Yield

Remember using your plot information and information of other plots in the area and throughout North America as the best way to get the ‘right hybrid on the right field for the highest yield’.

Is it better in the bag or in the field?

It is hard to be patient at this time of year. We all know that the sooner we can get started planted the better or is it? Yes and only if the conditions are right for quick emergence is this true. It takes approximately 100 – 150 CHU to emerge corn and with the daytime temperatures to date we have accumulated nothing in the way of heat units. If you have corn planted you are playing the waiting game to see when (if?) it is going to emerge. With our current genetics, quality standards and seed treatments seed can survive delayed emergence significantly better than 10 – 15 years ago, but if three to four weeks go by and we still have not seen the corn it will be hard to be patient and wish that you left it in the bag. So what should you do? Plant as soon as the soil is fit.

Should I start changing my hybrids to lower heat units? No. Prior to May 10, Syngenta Agronomy Research shows only a one bushel (or 0.11 bu/day) of corn yield loss with a ten day delay in planting. If you did not get finished planting until May 7th this year compared to April 28th last your expected yield loss is one bushel per acre. What about after May 10th? You may want to consider switching your very long heat unit corn to a shorter day hybrid and plant the rest. Our research has shown a one bushel per day for every day of delayed planting. What about May 24th? This topic will be discussed if delay occurs.

In the meantime we need to practice patience. Our elders were correct – patience is a virtue.

Calling all Western Bean Cutworm Scouts

If you are planning to scout for this important pest this year make sure your counts are sent into WBC Trap Network in Ontario. For information on how to do this please visit Baute Bug Blog.

Early Planting Soybeans: Tips

Planting date: The calendar is not as important to observing ‘Mother Nature’. Soil temperature, 10 day forecast and soil conditions are more important than the calendar date. Research in the past few years have shown that earlier planted soybeans (May 1 – May 15) have preformed better than later planted. Soil Temperature – Soil temperature during the first 24 hours is critical to soybean emergence and vigour. Avoid planting soybeans when the soil temperature is below 10o C (50o F). Soybeans that absorb cold water during the first 24 hours are at a greater risk of poor germination and vigour. Soil temperature is usually 2 – 3 hours delay to air temperature. If you are planting into marginal soil temperature it is better to plant later in the day and watch 24 – 48 hour forecast in regards to temperature and avoid planting prior a cold forecast. For more information on soil temperature and soybeans check out: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/field/news/croptalk/2003/ct_0903a7.htm

Seeding Rates – For early planted soybeans Use the recommended rate for the row width you are planting. Cutting rates is not recommended.

Seed Treatment – Planting into cooler soils will increase the risk of seed rots, seedling diseases and seed corn maggot. Due to the slower emergence of the soybean, the seed is exposed to the pest longer. Use seed treatments (Apron Maxx or Cruiser Maxx) to reduce the risk in early planted fields.

Planting Depth – Uniform seed depth is important. It is important to get the seed planted into moisture due to the high moisture required to swell the seed (50 % of its weight). The goal is place the seed approx. ½ inch into moisture. Ideal Planting depth should be between 1 – 1 ½ inches but anywhere from 1 – 2 ½ inches will work. Beans planted a 3 inches and deeper are at risk of emergence problems.

Soil Moisture Management – Wet soil conditions often lead to compaction (sidewall, surface) problems, deep planting issues and the seed trench opening up. When planting into wet soil conditions rolling or packing should be delayed to prevent compaction of the soil surface. When planting into dry soils it is very important to conserve the moisture by using the packer/roller during tillage and right after planting. Also, it is very important to not to over till the soil and/or till the soil to far ahead of planting as this practice may over dry the seed bed.

Have a safe planting season.

Corn planting tip – Watch maturities

It is a funny time of year to discuss corn maturity but as we make our final plans for spring it is important that we realize the factors that go into assessing corn maturity and the difference between physiological maturity and dry-down. Corn maturity starts after pollination and is complete at physiological maturity (black layer). Imagine the kernel as a glass and at pollination the glass is full of water. For the next 55 – 60 days we keep adding pebbles (starch and protein) to the glass (kernel) displacing water till the kernel is full. When the kernel is full of starch and protein and the maximum amount of water is displaced (there is still water between the pebbles (starch)). The kernel then full forms a layer of cells (bottom of the kernel) that turn black/brown forming what is called the black layer. The moisture of the kernel at this point is approximately 28 – 35 %.
What factors affect the rate of water displacement in the kernel?– Heat and sunlight
– Insects and disease – European corn borer, stalk rots, crown rots, rust
– Frost
– Cold weather – 4 to 5 days where maximum temperature does not exceed 130 C.
How do we get the rest of the water out of the kernel? Evaporation. The measure of moisture at harvest is a measure of dry down or the rate of evaporation of the remaining water from the kernel. Factors affecting the evaporation are: Thickness of pericarp (thin skin on the kernel), Kernel type (flint vs. dent), starch density (bu. weight) environmental (humidity), husk type/amount and ear orientation (by hanging down the ear sheds rain/dew accumulation)
How do we assess corn maturity?
Many factors are considered such as flowering (pollination) date to black layer formation and dry down. The most important is black layer compared to similar maturing products. Moisture is used to predict maturity but is more relevant when the harvest moisture is over 28 % moisture.
Taking it to the field A excellent corn year, such as 2010, often will skew corn maturities. It is important to not get caught planting too many late day varieties the following year. Maximum yield is produced with early planting dates for all the corn hybrid maturity groups (short, mid and full season). However, the yield reduction with delayed planting is the greatest with the full season hybrids compared to earlier maturing varieties.
At NK Brand we feel it is important to select a risk-free seed portfolio allowing you to manage the environmental risk of the growing season. By planting a 20:60:20 (short:mid:full season) maturity portfolio manages risk. When planting this type of portfolio, plant the full season varieties first, then the mid season and lastly the short season varieties. For maximum corn yield, all groups of hybrids should be planted as early as possible. Full season variety selection should include varieties that exhibit early flower and fast dry down traits. It is also important to have a late planted short season variety with the same characteristics.
Work with your seed specialist or NK Brand representative to build your corn portfolio.

Maximizing Yields with Spring Planter Care

contributed by: Shawn Brenneman, District Manager

All the planning that goes into a successful crop – seed choice and positioning, fertility and chemical programs, crop budgets and marketing plans – has been done. You’re ready for spring. Or are you? A little bit of preventative maintenance now on your planter will not only help ensure more trouble free time spent in the field, but will also start the crop off to achieve maximum yield potential.

Careful attention to your planter and the calibration of your seed units can often improve yields through even spacing and consistent depth control.

Here’s a quick list of some of the major points to consider when getting your planter ready for the field.

Before heading to the field
• Check and replace all worn out parts: seed meter components, chain links, disc openers, hydraulic hoses, seed tubes.
• Check that planter units are level to the ground when in operation (can affect disc opener depth, press wheels, seed to soil contact).
• Ensure that coulters and disc openers are aligned accurately – proper alignment improves accuracy of seed furrow opening.
• Lubricate drive chains. Worn, stiff or loose chains can cause a pulsing pattern in the placement of the seed.
• Inflate tires to proper specifications. Over or under inflation of drive tires can affect the transmission speed and seed dispersal.
• Calibrate pesticide and fertilizer planter attachments since application rates can easily change from year to year.
• Clean any hoses and seed tubes. Spider webs and mouse nests can trap seed and result in uneven spacing.
• Check the bottom of the seed tubes. Improper wear can affect the seed trajectory resulting in uneven seed spacing.
• On finger planters, check the finger pickup backplates for rust and seed treatment build-up.
• On air or vacuum planters, check all seals, gaskets and alignment of tubes if the planter folds for transport.

In the field
• Planting speeds should typically not exceed 5-6 mph, otherwise proper kernel metering and seed to soil contact could be impacted.
• Check the actual depth of seeding regularly. Actual seed depth can vary from targeted planter setting as soil conditions change.
• Be sure to clean out hoppers between changes in herbicide tolerant varieties. especially those that are glyphosate tolerant (GT).
• Use graphite or talc where needed to help lubricate the seed and reduce seed treatment build-up in the meter.

Consult your operation manual for a more detailed list of preventative maintenance tips specific for your planter.
Have a safe and productive spring.

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