growing season

2015 Planting Prep

The snow has melted, the grass is starting to turn green and farm equipment across the midwest is slowly starting to roll out of hibernation. Spring is here and that means planting season is just around the corner! Are you prepared?

Recently I had the opportunity to contribute to this article “Four Areas to Consider in 2015 Planting Prep” by WaterStreet Solutions. I felt it was important to share this information with you. Below are some key points from the article including a link to the full article.

What will it take to prepare for a successful 2015 planting season?

In my opinion, mindset is very important going into a crop year – it greatly influences success or failure. It will be important to approach the 2015 growing season with discipline, patience and strong belief in the crops potential, despite challenging farm economics.

These are four primary components to preparing for the new planting and growing season:

  1. PlanningPlant 15 Prep
  2. Agronomics
  3. Patience
  4. Execution


  • Anticipate the emotion that happens during planting season
  • Create revenue by increasing production
  • Mentally walk through your planting and growing season
  • Review “what-if” scenarios


Check that all inputs are ready by going through a series of questions. Please review the list of seed, trait packages, fertilizer, weed, production and yield questions in the full version of the article.


Be patient and consider the soil conditions before you start preparing the ground. Remember: By the time you’ve finished planting you’ve already dictated 75% of the yield potential of your crop! That’s how important soil conditions are during planting. In the full article I’ve included a few questions to ask yourself to determine if the soil is optimal for field work to begin.


  • Use the previous three factors to execute when the time is right
  • Preparation promotes a smooth season in the field
  • Keep your eyes on the ultimate goal – being the lowest cost per bushel producer

Prepare For a Successful 2015 Season

Make sure you do your pre-planting prep work and take time to prepare your mind for the challenges and opportunities that a new growing season presents. Start by reading the entire pre-planting prep article from WaterStreet Solutions and answering the questions provided. The team at Corn Capital Innovations would be happy to guide you through the pre-planting preparation process, please contact us for more information.

Read Full Article – “Four Areas to Consider in 2015 Planting Prep”

How do you prepare for the planting and growing season? Please share your tips in the comments below.

Observations From the Combine – 2014 Year In Review

What observations did you make from your combine or tractor this year? Steve and I asked ourselves this very question. After some thought, we wrote this year in review highlighting the factors that we felt had the most influence on the 2014 growing season and the importance of starting a cropping plan for 2015.

Challenging Planting Season

2014 CCI ReviewThe 2014 planting season was challenging to say the least. Farmers had a limited number of days to get this year’s crop planted due to spring rains and cool weather. The majority of corn fields in our area were planted between May 16th to May 19th and from May 22nd to May 26th. Soil conditions during planting season continue to be the number one factor to producing a top crop.

This later than normal planting window left little time for corn plants to establish their roots before the soil was inundated with heavy rain fall in June. In many parts of our growing area this was the highest rainfall amounts farmers have seen since 1993.

After the rains finally stopped, farmers carried through late June and early July with soils so saturated that many weren’t able to get spraying applications completed before the corn was too tall. While the temperature remained moderate, the majority of the corn was pollinated during the last week of July into the first week of August. After pollination, several areas went some time without receiving any additional rain; leaving poorly developed roots unable to establish nutrient movement and feed the plant adequately. Areas that missed the heavy rains in June, or received rains in August, fared much better.

Heavy Rainfall & Stressed Crops

The higher than average amount of rainfall area farmers received in June, caused the crop’s nutrient demands to be out of reach for the plant’s roots. Soil nitrate samples taken in mid-July showed that this year’s crop had little to no nitrogen left in the rooting zone, while the corn plants were still calling for 50% of their nitrogen needs.

Difficult conditions continued when several fields were hit with a widespread frost on Sept 13th. Initially, it was not categorized as a yield affecting frost. Later, it was discovered that this frost may have affected the crop to a much larger degree.

In low lying areas of fields, where corn plants were fighting all year with saturated roots, there was a delayed development of these plants. These already stressed plants were then hit with a frost event that created a double whammy, depriving bushels in areas of the fields that are usually the highest producing areas on the farm.

Yield Results & Staying Positive

What we have witnessed this fall is 1000 variables created by one major element in crop production that being excessive rainfall. As farmers look back at the 2014 Harvest, it is obvious that yields were directly correlated to the production capabilities of each piece of ground and how that piece handled excessive water and stressful conditions. Having a good risk strategy made all the difference in agronomic decisions this growing season.

After a challenging 2014, it is important for farmers to focus on the positives; the successes of their operations this year, and capitalize on those successes in 2015. When you make production decisions in low yield environments, the opposite tends to occur the next year. Don’t be reactive, be proactive!

2015 Planning Starts Now!

Now’s the time to focus on farm planning for 2015. Next year will be different, with lower prices; farmers must focus on increased crop production to lower break evens. When presented production challenges tied to adverse market prices, a written plan and a positive attitude will minimize the emotions of making poor decisions. Contact the Corn Capital Innovation Team; we have the knowledge and resources needed to help you plan to achieve a successful farming operation in 2015.

Do you have any additional thoughts on 2014? Have you started planning for 2015?