This planting season has been a rough one for many. While the Husker Harvest Days show site didn't experience the worst of this year's major flood events, host farmer Jason Luebbe notes this planting season has been rife with cool temperatures and wet conditions.
However, despite the conditions, he notes corn on the demo fields was mostly planted on schedule. Luebbe finished planting corn on the 300 acres of the HHD site's demo fields April 18, and while cool temperatures initially were a concern, he notes the corn emerged before the cold snap came in late April.
"The ground temperature was about 42 to 43 degrees, then it warmed clear up to 65 degrees and got the corn sprouted," he says. "We probably had one leaf out of the ground, it was spiked, and we had that cold spell. It didn't get cold enough to hurt anything naturally."
Of course, there also was excessive moisture, with about 4 or 5 inches of precipitation in March. However, with the newly constructed drainage system and detention cell at the HHD site, the exhibitor field didn't deal with flood damage, although demo fields had excessive moisture.
"The fields at the show site were actually flooded,” Luebbe says. “We had a quick snowmelt, and there was water running across the parking lots. There is a drainage ditch east of the visitor’s parking lot, and it was running out of its banks. The exhibitor field was fine. It was dry. We were a little nervous if we did get that big flush of rain the detention cell wouldn't have enough capacity, but it never got more than three-quarters full."
As host farmer at HHD, Luebbe has a front row seat to try the latest planter technology and aftermarket upgrades. This year, he's using a Case IH 2130 Early Riser 16-row planter.
Eight rows are equipped with SpeedTubes from Precision Planting, while the other eight have WaveVision seed sensors. It's also equipped with some other goodies — including Precision Planting's DeltaForce automatic downforce adjustment, CleanSweep row cleaners and factory pneumatic closing wheels.
HIGH-SPEED TRIAL: Corn recently emerged at the Husker Harvest Days show site. This year, host farmer Jason Luebbe is conducting trials with planter passes at 7, 8 and 9 mph, demonstrating the economic return from SpeedTubes on half of the planter.
"This is the first year they offered this planter in a 16-row, stack-fold configuration," Luebbe says. "It also has wing downforce so you don't have to hang weights on your wings anymore — it automatically puts downforce out there."
This year, Luebbe is conducting trials, with planter passes at 7, 8 and 9 mph to determine when it becomes economical to use SpeedTubes.
"SpeedTubes are becoming fairly popular, but they cost money. If a grower is only planting at 7 to 7.5 mph, when is the breakeven point when SpeedTubes start to pay off?" Luebbe asks. "If you're planting 7 miles per hour, my question is do I need SpeedTubes?"
And in years such as this, when wet conditions and cool temperatures shorten the planting window, getting every acre planted in a timely manner is more important. That's even more true at the HHD site, where planting corn in mid-April is key to reaching black layer by mid-September.
"It's been a very challenging year," Luebbe says. "To finish the crop in time for field demonstrations, you have to roll the dice once in a while and get planted by a certain calendar date."