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?
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:
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.
Net Effective Plant Stand (NEPS) is the total plant population minus late emerging plants and poorly spaced plants. The percentage is NEPS divided by total plant population. Typically this measurement is collected when plants are at the 4-8 leaf stage.
Most people look at a plant population once the field is planted; however, we analyze how many of those plants are actually full producing plants. Raising corn is no different than raising hogs. If you have a runt pig, it will always be a runt pig that doesn’t produce to the fullest potential while still using the same amount of resources to do so. Much like runt pigs, delayed emerging corn plants are stealing your profits.
Why is it important for our customers to look at NEPS each year?
Each year at CCI we look at NEPS for every field that a grower plants of our product. This is important for a grower to see and understand how tillage, seed quality, soil conditions, and residue management affect their plant stand of corn. We then use all of this information that has been collected to help growers make changes to their operation and their farming methods to ensure that they are making progress on improving their profitability while improving their skills in the field.
Why are NEPS important for us at CCI to look at?
We use NEPS as a catalyst for change. There are over a 1,000 variables that go into raising a great crop. Most variables are out of our control, but as we often say, the person who controls the most variables that they actually have control over will always out produce their competition. As a company, we can control seed quality, and we do so with very stringent testing of our seed not only at our conditioners, but also once it enters our warehouse. Before a bag of our seed is delivered to a farmer, it has been tested a minimum of 3 times at 3 different labs to ensure that it is the highest quality seed.
Understanding the genetic makeup of the hybrid is key to placing it on the right piece of ground. The right hybrids on the right piece of ground are two factors that can help you take your yield to the next level. Here at Corn Capital Innovations, we pride ourselves in helping production experts as yourself take high quality seed and place it on the right acre in your field.
Remember, everything that happens above ground starts below ground!
What did we see this year in the fields?
The 2014 growing season will be remembered in large part for the challenges that occurred in getting the crop planted in a challenging spring, as well as, the deluge of water that occurred in June. When we conducted our NEPS evaluations this year, here is what we saw:
Soil Conditions at planting time are the #1 dictator of yield
High full producing ear counts (best stands we have seen in the last 3 years)
Significant differences on vertical tillage versus field cultivators
Vertical tillage had a 2-3,000 full producing plants per acre advantage
The field cultivator smear layer kept the soil anaerobic longer than vertical tillage tools thus the plants suffered more seedling diseases as well as prohibited root development
Check out these pictures of what we were seeing in the field!
In agriculture, growing smarter begins with collecting knowledge from hands on experience and our agronomists can work with you to get the latest technology that’s right for your unique growing challenges.
My name is Reed Nelson, I will be the intern for Corn Capitol Innovations for the summer of 2013. I will be a junior in college this fall where I am currently pursuing a degree in Business Marketing from St. Cloud State University. Having lived in Olivia, Minnesota for nearly 21 years of my life, I have developed a strong interest in agriculture and the businesses which make Olivia and the surrounding communities thrive. I enjoy playing guitar, hunting, fishing, and being outdoors in my free time.
In the first month of my internship, I have participated in conducting Net Effective Plant Stands which are commonly referred to as NEPS. This process is a tool that is not only used to determine the success rate of a growers spring planting, but also show how decisions made in the previous fall, winter, and spring have affected the farming process. The NEPS process involves flagging and analyzing portions of growers’ fields. The flagging process involves identifying individual plants and determining whether they are: standards, skips, double plants, or a delayed emergence. After completing the flagging process, the next step is identifying the cause of the delays, skips, or doubles. This step is often carried out by digging to check for soil conditions, and planting depth. These complications can range from poor soil conditions, to weather related conditions, to malfunction of machinery used. By diagnosing these problems, we are then able to assess decisions made in the months prior to planting and how they may or may not have played a role in problems with stands.
Once Net Effective Plant Stands are complete, the rest of my summer will include activities such as scouting fields for harmful insects and fungi. I will also gain experience through observing varieties in our plots and learning more about the genetics involved in various seed products. With the summer just beginning, I am excited to expand my knowledge of agriculture through hands-on experience with the C.C.I. team. I also look forward to meeting and working alongside the customers of Corn Capital Innovations to help accomplish a safe and successful growing season.
Most farmers look at the bag label for the percentage of warm germination in the seed corn. By law, this has to be applied to each bag, but often it is not the most important number to know in relation to quality. The warm germination percentage is significant, however, we have found that cold germination, as well as purity are the actual numbers you need to look at to make better decisions, if and when, you are going to plant that specific variety.
Seed quality alone can equate to 20-50 bushel differences on final yields. While the industry is not anxious for you to know these vigor results prior to purchasing a product, we feel you need to know everything you can if you are going to achieve your yield goals. Before you take possession of seed from us you can feel confident that we have run several tests through independent labs to make sure you are getting the highest quality seed available.
Seed quality, both good and bad, is almost always correlated to the environment it came from, is placed in, or the process involved in procuring the product. Getting high quality seed to the farmers we work with is a variable that we can control. The processes that we go through to deliver the highest quality seed to farmers is just as important as the process we ask our growers to utilize when taking possession and planting the seed.
When taking possession of the seed.
We suggest that you place the seed in an environment that is void of temperature fluctuations, free of moisture, rodents, and pests.
The rule of 100 applies to this. (60 degrees + 40% humidity) High temperatures and high humidity can lead to decreased germination and seedling vigor in only a few short months. We recommend using belts versus air systems, to deliver your seed to the planter.
Air systems tend to cause more mechanical damage due to the seed/steel contact while traveling through the tube.
We advise waiting to plant until soil conditions are conducive to top yields.
If soil conditions are too wet or dry, loose, lumpy, or in any way less than perfect, it can detract from the seed’s ability to emerge at optimum speed with optimum health.
We suggest planting at 3.8 – 4.2 MPH and at a depth of 2 – 2-1/4” depth.
This will protect the seedling from unwarranted temperature fluctuation and to have all plants emerge within 24 to 36 hours of each other. The slower you plant, the more consistent and even emerging stand you will have.
Placing the right variety on the right piece of ground is something that we can design into your crop plan.
It’s not just about picking the right genetics; it’s about matching the right germplasms to the right field as 75% of all varieties never preform to their potential because they are planted on the wrong piece of ground.
Being successful completely depends on the quality of everything you do. From the products you use to the way they are managed, all performance can be traced back to quality.
I encourage you to take a look at your operation specific to quality and ask yourself; are you controlling your quality? What steps or processes can you change to raise you level of quality from within?
Contact us to work with you to answer these questions, we would be so glad to offer any assistance!