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Setting up for Success

March 15, 2019

As March rolls into the spring of 2019 the planters begin to come out of the sheds and the fine tuning begins. Dropping the seed into the right soil moisture and temperature can make all the difference in a field’s yield results. The first 24 hours that seed sits in the ground is crucial – it could be the difference between having a highly desired picket fence stand or, in a worst-case scenario, a replant. The proper fine tuning of your planter plays a critical role in this whole process.

Recently, I was able to hear World champion corn growers David Hula and Randy Dowdy talk about what it takes to get corn yields over 500 bu/ac. Although they have many advantages to growing such high yields such as environment, soil type and irrigation, they attribute their great success to locking in the basics. From planter set-up to fertilizer placement and fertilizer type there are many contributing factors that affect yield as soon as the seed comes out of the bag.

One of the main points they spent the majority of their talk on was planting in proper conditions to achieve uniform growth. As the plant emerges from the ground, they try to achieve similar leaf stage so that when the plants start to pollinate the cobs are all found on the same node of the plant. Now, that might sound easy, but there are many essential factors that need to be present for even emergence to happen. Once the corn plant emerges Hula and Dowdy begin to do various flag tests marking the uniformity of the stand. Only after the stand is assessed for emergence will Hula or Dowdy begin to aggressively feed to produce record yields.

So as the weather warms up and the planters hit the fields for another season, make sure you take a couple extra minutes to walk your field and assure that the seeds you are planting are setup in the right conditions for success. If you have further questions about conditions to look for or about ideal seed types or fertilization strategies, be sure to talk to one of your local agronomists at Clark Agri Service.

This Crop Corner has been written by Jake Elgersma, Sales Agronomist at Clark Agri Service. Jake can be reached by email: jelgersma@clarkagriservice.com or by phone 289-659-5747