It is finally here! In this week’s Boots In The Field Report Ken Ferrie gives the green light locally for planting corn and encourages growers to get this planting season in the books. But he does caution growers to make sure they are planting into moisture. He gives the following advice if still needing to do tillage before plating:

  •  Horizontal tillage: make sure the planter is on the tail of the tillage pass to make sure moisture doesn’t get away.
  • Vertical Tillage: If have to run, run shallow with little to no gang angle. If running on bean stubble to dry and warm up the soil, not needed with these conditions could go no-till. If running to incorporate surface nitrogen, better off buying a urease inhibitor and no-tilling to save moisture with current forecast.
  • High Speed Disks: this is putting in a shallow horizontal tillage layer creating a lot of issues. Gives up moisture needed for germination within hours, subject to blowing if it doesn’t rain and subject to crusting if it does rain.

Planting into moisture is crucial and Ken advises using technology like SmartFirmers and digging behind the planter multiple times to ground truth if you are staying in moisture. He reminds growers that the closing system has 2 jobs: 1. Close from the bottom up 2. Firm soil so moisture doesn’t get away. Farmers do NOT want to get dry soil down into the trench, that may mean switching from spike wheels to solid wheels, making sure depth wheels are snug against disk openers, and in tilled soil, increasing down pressure to keep a true V.

If having moisture to germinate is a concern Ken recommends shutting of the in-furrow starter to reduce risk of salt burn to seed and if have technology like FurrowJet, sending product to the wings and keeping it out of the furrow. If water is gone down to planting depth, two options remain: 1. Waiting for a rain and then chasing it with the planter. 2. Use row cleaners and push dry soil out of the way to get to moisture. Both come with several risks but have better odds than planting in dry conditions and hoping for a rain.

Ken also reminds growers about the problem brewing with cutworm and armyworm populations and advises growers to check if their seed treatment package covers cutworm or armyworm. If not may need to think about adding an insecticide to the planter or to burndown pass.

Handy Bt Trait Table for U.S. Corn Production: