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John Deere MaxEmerge 2 planter

Planting strategy: Spend less? Chase yields?

We still plan to push the better fields that have higher yield history.

In addition to the normal rush of the planting season, I have been bogged down in the same quandary most farmers are dealing with right now: Just what yield goal do we shoot for in light of the current economic conditions? Do we chase yields in hopes of making up for prices? Do we go bare bones, spend the lowest amount possible, and hope for the best?

At this time we still plan to push the better fields that have a higher yield history. In other fields we are going to shoot for the maximum economic return. In terms of yield, the best economic return is probably 15-20% less than the yield goal should be. It’s going to be an interesting year. We’re going to have to be flexible as we go.

Fertilizer choices

How much fertilizer we are going to use is nearly a daily discussion. Like a lot of farmers, we are going to make a withdrawal from the soil bank this year. It’s time to count on the soil for a little extra. We’ve moved our soybean fertility to 2x2 on the planter with no plans for a broadcast application. We hope this banding of fertilizer will increase efficiency. We’re even optimistic, hoping that yields will get a bump from having the high concentration of fertilizer available equidistant from each plant.

Generally, the same is true for corn. We’re going to count on the 2x2x2 row starter on some farms and hope for the best. Obviously, we will still have to put nitrogen on, but that amount will be determined by crop condition and futures prices when that time comes. Our high production corn fields will likely receive a strip till application of fertilizer prior to planting. That will be available to the plant as soon as it roots down a few inches.

Speaking of strip till, we still have hopes to put some steel in the ground yet this week. It seems as though every time we’re close, it rains again. This time we might get a chance.

I also informed Rachael last night about the likelihood of manure being spread beside the house. In turn she responded by telling me she would be sure to practice social-distancing if that happens! Not sure what she meant by that!

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 
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