As the weather begins to creep into warmer temperatures and the sun lingers in the sky longer in the evening, thoughts of spring come to mind.
With the new planting season quickly approaching for many and even if still several weeks away for cooler geographies, it is necessary to make sure that you get your crops off to a strong start. Having a set schedule and list leading up to your key planting dates will provide extra time as necessary to be devoted to any unexpected issues as they arise.
Here are four steps to help proactively prepare for the upcoming planting season:
1. Start with the Soil
First of all, prepare the soil for the season. Soil that is good in the spring and is in peak quality is more likely to yield the best possible crop. Although soil health is not limited to nutrient content, it lets you make informed fertilizer and crop protection decisions by knowing what the soil consists of. For these decisions, the soil samples that you took earlier may also be useful.
Understand the texture of the soil and bear in mind potential limits on individual pieces of land as well as any benefits when preparing the soil for spring planting. If cover crops have been planted in the fall or the intention is for spring tillage, make sure that the soil is ready before going into the field. Minimize soil compaction by not running too wet soil and seek options to prevent too heavy machinery.
2. Helping your seed maximize its genetic potential
It’s a good time to confirm the fertilizer schedule that best suits your yield goals, now that the soil preparation is underway. It is vital to ensure that your selected seed has enough time before expected harvest dates to reach maturity, and that along the way, it will have the necessary nutrients and protection.
You would want to design a crop protection plan to help the crop within the geography where it is being planted, considering pests, weeds and diseases that are more likely within the region, in addition to providing enough time for the plants to grow and mature. A smart crop protection plan will increase your chances of growing crops and help you mitigate seasonal problems.
3. Determine your optimal fertilizer strategy
Based on soil sample outcomes and your yield targets for each region, decide on the most suitable and efficient fertilizer strategy.
Equipped with this data, finalizing your fertilizer plan for the season will be easier and you will have a better chance that your plan will yield better results come harvest.
Throughout the season, remember to ensure that your crop has the correct quantities of macro and micronutrients as they need them. One good way to help your crop get off to a good start is the in-furrow application of starter fertilizer.
4. Spring equipment preparation and maintenance
Before starting to plant and fertilize the fields, check all the spring equipment. Make sure the microtubes, splitters, and pumps are free from old residues on all fertilizer equipment. A nozzle that is dirty or clogged may lead to uneven or improper distribution.
Inspect the planter to ensure the best performance of all components and repair any worn parts. Ensure the planter attachments are clean and running properly, like in-furrow fertilizer equipment. Conduct a safety check to ensure that all lights and safety equipment are working properly. Don’t forget about upgrades to electronics and technology. Where appropriate, check for software updates.
Complete these four steps ahead of time and a high degree of trust will begin your season and the potential for a great harvest.
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