Take it slow before going to the field

Seed boxes are shown during a previous season / CIFN file photo.

LEXINGTON – Two weeks ago, we had record cold temperatures and now the forecast calls for the lower 60s by early next week.

That has many growers looking ahead to spring work but Dan Froelich, a technical agronomist with Brandt in Lexington, reminds everyone that it is only the first week of March. While early planting seems to be the talk in recent years, Froelich warns farmers to make sure the ground is dry before heading out to the field.

“Anything we do to harm our soil health this time of year will be there all year long,” Froelich told The Central Illinois Farm Network.

If you can reach down three inches into the soil and make a mud ball that can be squeezed between your fingers without breaking off, it is too wet. Once temperatures creep up a bit, some may be tempted to get out there and level off ground on field ends or around tile lines.

“That is fine but let’s make sure the ground is fit before we do it,” said Froelich.

This is a good time to start going through your planter to fine-tune things if you haven’t already. Froelich recommends checking bushings or parallel arms and adjusting gauge wheels and disk openers. There have been delays in parts shipments due to COVID so farmers should use the warm weather to look over things while there is still time to wait for those parts to arrive.

Froelich also urges everyone to know what type of seed traits they are going to plant where. If nothing else, tear a tag off of your seed bag and show your retailer what you are planting in what field. Communication is key and it all starts in the spring.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen fields killed because of a lack of communication or lack of understanding.”

For more information, Froelich can be reached at the Brand Lexington location at 309-365-7201. You can also reach out to a local Brandt location.

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