The Online Newsletter by Shannon Gomes
Cedar Basin Crop Consulting, Inc.
EIGHT WAYS TO PLANT FOR HIGHER YIELDS
(Adapted from Progressive Farmer)
1. INSPECT EVERY PART OF YOUR PLANTER
- Planters with Finger pick-ups should be checked for wear on back plate and brushes.
- Check for wear on double disc openers.
- Ensure sprocket settings on planter transmission are correct.
- Check for worn or stiff chains and improper tire pressure.
- Lubricate all chains.
- Make sure seed drop tubes are clean and clear of debris.
- Make sure coulters and disc openers are aligned.
2. CONSIDER SEED FIRMERS.
Before the seed furrow is closed, these plastic "beaver tails" glide along the bottom of the furrow, pushing the seed down into that critical "V" of the seed trench.
3. SLOW DOWN.
Problems with seed placement and singulation occur at higher speeds. Keep planting speed between 4.5 - 5.0 mph.
4. CHECK SEED DEPTH
Try to place the seed no less that 1 1/2 inches into the ground. Seeds planted too shallow can produce a plant with a nodal root system too close to the surface of the soil.
5. PLANT EARLY.
Ideally soil temperature should be above 55° F. --but if choice is temperature vs. early planting go with early planting.
6. INCREASE SEED POPULATIONS.
Tests show yields continue to trend upward even at 30,000 plants. The upper yield limit apparently stays at 30,000 plants (final stand in standard 30-inch rows) per acre.
7. TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT PLANT SPACING.
In a Purdue University study conducted by Dr. R.L. Nelson, approximately 2.5 bushels per acre are lost for every inch increase in the standard deviation of plant to plant spacing, thus reducing SD of 4.0 to 2.0 inches would likely increase yields by 5.0 bushels/acre. In 154 fields measured for CBCC clients in 1997, 83 fields (54%) had SD between 3" -- 3.5", while only 31 fields (20%) had SD below 2.5". The remaining forty fields (26%) had SD greater than 4". Greatest loss came at the biggest deviations.
Standard Deviation of Plant-to-Plant Spacings (in.)
8. PAY MORE ATTENTION TO SKIPS THAN DOUBLES.
Dr. Nafziger at the University of Illinois has done some work on skips and doubles. He found that skips resulted in yield losses from 18 bushels and acre (at 18,000 plants per acre) to 34 bushels acre (at 30,000 plants per acre). Doubles increased yields 19 Bu/acre. Skips indicate planter and emergence problems, while doubles indicate planter problems.