Planting is just around the corner and farmers in our area are preparing for this growing season. With the expense of input costs at a high, farmers will focus on controlling what they can control and that will be how much they can prepare before planting. Right now, most farmers are focusing on getting their equipment out and serviced. Specifically for planters, farmers want to make sure that all parts are performing their best and that they get any worn parts replaced. Specific parts to check would be microtubes, splitters, and pumps on all fertilizer equipment. Farmers want to ensure that there is no old residue or any dirty or clogged nozzles that could lead to an uneven distribution of a product.
Farmers will also hook up pieces of equipment to each other and make sure that everything is calibrated. Once their equipment is ready to go, they will be able to get out into the field once the opportunity arises, which could very likely be a short window of time. A safety check is also a very important step that farmers do before planting. They want to check that all lights and other safety systems are working properly.
Farmers will also make sure that their soil is prepped for planting as much as they can. Many farmers take soil samples in the fall that will help them make decisions on what part of the field needs what (like added fertilizer, for example). Progressive Ag Services, an agriculture consulting and service business out of Miner, IL, has been working on custom strip tilling for farmers in the area. Custom strip tilling is where they will put custom application of nutrients in a band (strip) into the field. This is one way that farmers can choose to apply fertilizer on their field so it is already ready when they decide to plant. No matter what method of fertilizer application the farmer chooses, they want to ensure that their crop will receive the proper amounts of micro and macronutrients that it will need throughout the growing season.
Even the type of seeds farmers choose is important to success throughout the planting season. They want to check the seed’s genetic potential and how it lines up with what their field has to offer. The variety of things to consider when choosing seed could be anything from color to active ingredients to application rates. It is important to consider what crops grow well together and if the plants will need more additional nutrients than you can fund. This year, we may see an increase in the amount of soybeans planted due to the high cost of nitrogen.
Another important step before harvest is to establish a smart crop protection plan. Establishing a smart crop protection plan can help reduce issues a farmer may face during the growing season. Farmers must take into consideration what geography and weather conditions they typically face in their area, as well as their farm’s history of weeds, pests, and disease. Specific questions that the farmer may consider include: How much rainfall do we typically get annually? How will we protect the crops if there is too much or too little rain? Do we have a back-up plan or insurance if a bad storm or disease hurts our crops badly?
Our farmers and agriculture companies in the area are working hard to prepare for this year’s planting season. There are many decisions to make and things to prepare, but we know that our farmers and agriculturalists will work hard to get the most out of this year’s growing season, despite any challenges that may be thrown their way.