Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Preparing for Spring Planting

Planting has been set back a bit this year. But that doesn't mean we are just sitting watching the weather!  We have been out to:

Check soil moisture

We've had a lot of rain/moisture this spring so far.  Our equipment can't get in and out of the field when it is wet.  Another concern is compaction:  corn and beans can't grow in soil that is as hard as cement!

Check soil temperatures.

The soil temperature is important.  For example, if we plant into warm moist soils, corn can emerge within 4-5 days.  If we plant into cool or dry conditions it can take 2 or more weeks to emerge.  This can give pests (insects) and diseases time to eat and infest the seed.  Generally we want the soil to be about 50 degrees for a few days.  A helpful tool that we use is on the Iowa State University website that shows the approximate temperature of soils across the state. http://extension.agron.iastate.edu/npknowledge/soiltemphistory.html. The temperatures have been jumping up and down a lot lately.  3 days ago it was 37 degrees in Webster County.  Yesterday it was already back up to 53 degrees.  Ah…the power of sunshine!

Spray herbicides. 

Thankfully we got this done before the snow.  We have some bean fields that we need to spray prior to planting to keep the weeds down (pre-emerge herbicide).  We also have rye that we plant in the fall that needs to be killed before planting corn.  We planted the rye right after harvest and spray to kill it about 2 weeks before planting.


Check new tile.

Last fall we put down a lot of tile to help drain the wet spots in our fields. However, last fall it was dry! This spring we are able to look at what we did last fall to see if everything is working how we imagined.   

Do chores!

No matter what season or day it is, the animals always need feed and care.

Prep the planter.

Don’t worry, we are ready to plant as soon as it dries up! 

2013 04 29 Planter Ready Blog

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