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Thinking about the cropping season like a NASCAR race

Thinking about the cropping season like a NASCAR race
Change in thought process involves starting with the foundation, and making adjustments throughout the season.

The cropping season has barely gotten off the ground, and it's already been a year of extremes for many in Nebraska. Following one of the driest Marches on records, growers across Nebraska were hammered with heavy rainfall from mid-April onward, taking advantage of any window available to get in the field to plant corn and soybeans.

As of mid-May, most of the corn in Nebraska was planted, and around 25% of soybean acres were planted in eastern Nebraska.

Earlier this month, Mike Zwingman, Central Valley Ag R&D manager, sat down with us to discuss some of the curve balls Mother Nature has thrown at growers this year, and some of the components CVA is working with growers to improve on. This conversation is part of a new podcast series discussing critical crop-related issues in Nebraska throughout the growing season.

One of the key strategies is getting growers to think dynamically throughout the season. This means keeping in mind the net effect of stand percentage and how it affects the end result. In other words, identifying planting errors like skips, doubles, or planter issues with singulation, spacing, downforce, planting depth, and thinking about adjustments for the following growing season. The next step is considering how that stand affects the yield goal from here on out, and adjusting your management practices to meet your adjusted yield potential.

It's what Zwingman calls a change in thought process – it's all about making adjustments in-season, not simply focusing on cutting costs, but building efficiencies.

Zwingman compares it to a NASCAR race: "The difference between the winning car and the 43rd car isn't anything in the car," he says. "The difference between the first car and the last car, or the first car and the 15th car, or the first car and the second car is the driver and which team is better at making adjustments throughout the race. Adding a little bit of wedge here, taking out a little bit here, changing tire pressure, whatever it is. As track conditions change, as your position in the field changes, we make changes to keep you out front."

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