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Timing Planting for Best Yield, Crop Performance

Timing Planting for Best Yield, Crop Performance

Planting at exactly the right time can help make your crop successful and provide the most yield potential. However, planting season rarely allows for farmers to be in the field at the right exact time. Jami Loecker, Kansas based agronomy service manager at Syngenta, says there are several factors growers should take into consideration when determining their plant date.

“Historical practices in a specific geography are typically the number one priority that growers are utilizing. And a lot of that is really centered around historical environmental data. In addition to that, they will consider what kind of hybrids and varieties they’re planting that may bring into account what kind of early season vigor those particular hybrids and varieties have. It oftentimes has to do with what kind of relative maturities those particular hybrids and varieties have and some of the other different characteristics that they agronomically bring with them.” 

Loecker says there are risk of planting both too early or too late.

“When we plant too early, we certainly have concerns around early season moisture, early season temperatures, these challenges can influence us in a few different ways. Typically, it would be a plant stand issue. Additionally, depending on what kind of herbicides are used, so there’s different crop safety factors to consider during that early season timeframe as well. So, whether you’re early or late, there’s always pest issues that you have to consider, the difference in time of year that you plant whether you’re cool or warm can influence some of the insects that you have to manage. It can influence some of the diseases that you have to manage through, and so that might influence some of your decisions when it comes to hybrids and varieties.” 

She says there are some other things farmers should consider.

“Yeah, non-ideal conditions is kind of the story of most farmers lives and a lot of times, right, it’s rarely perfect, whether that be how much moisture you have in the soil, sometimes too much, sometimes too little, whether it be the time of year, the temperature you’re planting and all those kinds of things, a few things to make sure that we’ve got front of mind here is that there are some challenges that you don’t come back from. For example, if you go out there and try to plant when your soil is too wet, you can get some sidewall compaction issues, that really, there’s not much forgiveness for. I can’t sell a grower something that fixes some of the early seedling diseases after the fact that they didn’t use a good seed treatment. So, just making sure that they don’t rush into some of those situations.” 

Loecker says farmers should have several plans ready for planting season and be ready to adjust when needed.

“Oftentimes, Plan A has kind of a wide range that you can slide into, Plan B, then is that next step of okay, we didn’t get in in a timely manner, now we’re maybe a couple of weeks delayed. How does that shift things? Plan C is we’re really far delayed. What kind of extreme changes do we need to make and put into place in order to still achieve a successful cropping season and I think the other thing to think about as you go through your plan a plan B, plan C is also making sure that not only are you incorporating into those plans, how you’re going to make adjustments, but it’s also good to reset your expectations as well.” 

She adds that precision agriculture technology like the Cropwise™ Risk Manager or Cropwise Financials can assist farmers in planning their growing season.

“Precision agriculture and its implementation into cropping systems has really helped us mitigate some challenges or be more pinpointed, right, so we can make sure that we are getting the right fertility in the certain parts of the field that need it. It helps us make sure that we get really accurate spacing in between plants. Anything that we can implement from a precision perspective that helps us to just be increased that level of accuracy is going to ultimately help us kind of overcome some of the other obstacles that may occur.” 

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