Farm Progress

25 questions to ask ahead of planting 138097

Crop Watch 2016: Time to nail down plans for 2016 corn growing season

Tom Bechman, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

February 29, 2016

3 Min Read

In less than two months the Corp Watch 2016 field could be planted. It has been planted during the first week of May for the past two years. There will be another field selected to watch again in 2016. The idea is to watch one field closely so that it might bring up ideas that you might want to watch in your own fields.

Dave Nanda, a crops consultant for Seed Consultants, Inc. sponsor of the yield guessing contest that goes along with crop watch, will soon meet with the farmers who will host the field this year. We don’t reveal their identify or the exact location of the field so we’re free to report on both good and not-so-good results. The field is in the central portion of the Eastern Corn Belt.


GETTING READY: Here's a handy checklist to run through before planters roll soon.


Here are 25 questions to ask of the farmers who will plant the crop watch field this year. You might use this as a template as you plan what to do in each of your fields this year.

1 - What crop was in the field last year?

2 - Was any fall tillage done- if so, what type of tillage?

3- Were cover corps planted? If so, which ones and at what rate?

4 - What are the major soil types in the field?

5 - What is the ration of one soil type to another in the field?


THE GOAL: If the stand comes out looking like this, all the planning will be worth it.


6 - When was the last time soil tests were pulled in the field? How was it sampled?

7 - When was the last time lime was applied in the field? What was the rate?

8 - Have fertilizer and lime been applied using variable-rate technology?

9 - Are phosphorus levels low, medium or high in most of the field?

10 - Are potassium levels low, medium or high in most of the field?

11 - What did the field yield the last time it was in corn? What year was it?

12 - How will nitrogen be applied this year?

13 - What is the target rate for nitrogen for 2016 for total N applied?

14 - Will one or two hybrids be planted in the field?

15 - Do you have the ability to vary seeding rates? If so, do you intend to?

16 - What is your target seeding rate or seeding rate range?

17 - Will you be applying starter fertilizer this spring? If so, what type and how much?

18 - What will be your herbicide program this year in this field?

19 - What is your target planting date if you could choose the day to plant this field?

20 - Will you do spring tillage, or will this field be no-tilled?

21 - Are you planting disease-resistant hybrids? If so, what is the level of resistance?

22 - Do you intend to apply a fungicide at V5? At tasseling?

23 - Do you have the ability to apply nitrogen late in the season if necessary?

24 - Do you have access to a drone to scout your field?

25 - Do you hire a scouting service, or do you scout the field yourself?

Who said farming was simple today?

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm, Indiana Prairie Farmer

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