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'Bug-Dust' Planting Reported Where Soils Were Dry'Bug-Dust' Planting Reported Where Soils Were Dry

Little residue from last year to get in way of preparing bug-dust seedbed.

Tom Bechman 1

June 3, 2013

2 Min Read

Indiana agriculture is definitely not one world this spring and early summer. The northern half of the state, more or less, got a jump on the south in planting date, even though it may have been later than they normally plant. The south is catching up between showers.

That's not the only observation that makes things different this year. Some people are no-tilling into bean stubble, some are no-tilling into cover crops, standing or burned down, and some are working soil and planting into bug-dust. That assumes it was dry enough to form 'bug dust.'


It looked like the 1970s in some fields where the soil worked up very fine. Hopefully big rains won't lead to lots of soil erosion that makes lakes and streams look like it's 1970 all over again too.

Why did the soils work up so fine where farmers made two to three trips before planting? Even some who made trips with so-called vertical tillage tools wound up planting into very fine soil. One theory is that in many areas, there was so little residue produced last year by the sub-par corn crop during the drought that there was little to stand in the way of working the soil into fine powder.

The other issue is that in many of those stressed fields, the stalks that were there were affected by stress and disease disintegrated by harvest. So they provided little for the field cultivator or even vertical tillage tool to encounter this spring.

What's uncertain is if these soils will crust if there are strong rains on top of them. If that happens, soybean emergence might be a problem. Soybean emergence has also been a problem in no-till fields that were planted too wet.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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