By Connor Lynch
VERNON — Planting season was a nightmare many months in the making, with conditions last fall setting up producers for a rough spring.
Speaking to about 60 growers at the Precision Planting day at Vernon, south of urban Ottawa last month, agronomist Paul Sullivan had some advice for growers for next year’s planting season.
Sullivan said that a wet harvest last year created compaction in a lot of fields that couldn’t be worked up in the spring, “Most of the time, it was very borderline conditions for planting,” he said.
Mitigating compaction for next year’s crop is going to be important, even if this fall hasn’t set up well for it. The late harvest is going to present some issues, he said, leaving little time to get in for tillage or to plant cover crops. Soybean fields, especially fields that have had issues, will be some of the ones to focus on, assuming you’re rolling them into corn next year.
All that compaction created a lot of variability in planting depth, which just made more variability in the corn crop as the season went on. A uniform crop probably comes out ahead to the tune of 10 to 15 bushels per acre, Sullivan said.
Soybeans will tolerate seedbed compaction better than corn. If you have a field that’s going to have corn in it next year, try to find the time to get some tillage done, or plant some cover crops, he said.
A good rule of thumb is to expect that your shorter, or unemerged crops probably struggled with some compaction. It’s worth checking with a tile probe to see what’s going on under the surface, or digging a small hole, he said.
Agronomist offers tips for next year’s planting
By Connor Lynch