Farmers everywhere know that in order to maximize yields, they must take the necessary steps before the planting season begins. While it can depend on weather conditions, it is typically best if crops like corn or soybeans are planted between April 15 and May 15. Every farmer is different, with each practicing various techniques to get their land where it needs to be for the current season and for seasons to come.
Before taking action, farmers should plan their next move carefully to ensure they are getting the most out of their field. Let’s take a look at some tips and considerations for how to effectively prepare for the planting season and achieve a successful harvest.
The Importance of Soil Testing
According to experts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, sampling soil in either the fall or spring can be critical in determining potassium, phosphorous, sulfur, micronutrient, and lime requirements. Taking this extra step will enable producers to play an active role in the optimization of crop production. When testing soil in their fields, producers should also consider the moisture line – this can help determine planting depth, something that can have a major impact on growth and seed to soil contact.
By testing soil early enough in the process, producers can take the appropriate action and make adjustments if necessary.
Prepare the Land for Planting
Another step that producers should consider before planting is some form of tillage or chemical “burn-down”. Doing this will help kill weeds in the seedbed that would crowd out the crop and steal much-needed moisture and nutrients. Producers everywhere know how much time and effort goes into a normal planting season; taking precautions to effectively prepare their fields will help reduce stress and kick off the planting season right.
While practices have shifted over time, farmers across the country typically employ one of three types of tilling when preparing their land. This includes conventional tillage, conservation tillage, and reduced tillage.
- Conventional: This method consists of using moldboard plows followed by several secondary tillage efforts and eventually relying upon mechanical cultivation once the crop is up.
- Conservation: This method allows for more than 30% of residue coverage to remain on the soil, helping to limit the negative effects that tilling can have on the land.
- Reduced: This method, which has become more popular in recent years, is accomplished using a chisel plow. Many producers rely on this practice, which includes keeping crop residue on the soil surface, as it can reduce erosion and conserve soil moisture.
While it has its benefits, producers should take care to consider the impact that frequent tillage has on their land, especially as they head into the planting season.
When You Do Till, Make Sure It’s Done Right
Since the creation of the first steel plow in 1837, John Deere has been committed to helping farmers handle daily tasks, such as preparing the land, with ease. In addition to making life easier for farmers, the company also prioritizes the quality and the health of the land that its machines are managing.Click here to see more...
Today, the company offers a wide range of tillage equipment to help prepare for the growing season as efficiently as possible. This includes disks, plows, field cultivators, variable-intensity tillage tools, and more.