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Froelich: Make sure it's done right

(CIFN file photo)

LEXINGTON – The average farmer plants around 40 times in his or her life. If you are going to do something this much in a lifetime, you want to make sure it is done right.

This is true for planting preparations. As farmers return to the field soon when the weather cooperates, they should go with their gut feeling rather than emotions. This includes not working the ground to simply “dry it out.”

“You are sealing that ground off so that top layer can dry out but the reason it dries out is because it is no longer letting moisture up from below,” explained Dan Froelich, a technical agronomist for Brandt, Inc.

Come June or July, crops will need moisture from the ground which could be blocked off if a field is worked too wet in the spring. Corn roots need to access moisture and nutrients well beneath the ground.

Froelich believes growers should not even think about switching corn hybrids to earlier maturities until after May 25. There should be plenty of good planting days in April and May.

“Don’t get shook up, lose confidence and make a bad decision.”

If ground is marginally fit to plant or slightly wet, growers should put soybeans in while waiting for nearly ideal conditions to plant corn. As long as the soybean stand is even, they should be in good shape.

“As long as we can effectively close that slot, those beans will take off and be just fine,” added Froelich.

Plenty of soybeans have already been planted in Central Illinois and time will tell how they perform. During the past several days, the four inch bare soil temperature ranged from a low of 39 degrees to a high of 48. This doesn’t do much for germination but temperatures are expected to increase from here on out.

“For the most part, what we’ve been seeing is a stand loss of 10 to 15 percent,” Froelich said. “That actually may do a guy a favor because we tend to plant beans too thick.”

Froelich is concerned about the very little amount of corn seed that has gone in the ground. As it emerges, farmers should be prepared to act quickly if needed and be open to the possibility of tearing up an entire field for replanting. Soybeans can be planted into a standing crop but corn is different.

“If we are going to replant, we have to rip out what is there,” Froelich noted.

This is why corn should not be planted in questionable conditions. Froelich also cautions growers against making decisions based on last year. Soybeans can be stressed a little but you never want corn to have a bad day.

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