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Plant With harvest goals in mind

By planning the end-of-season objectives, farmers can easily set planting order.

May 7, 2024

2 Min Read
Getty Images/Richard Hamilton Smith

Farmers are always thinking ahead and planning for the what-ifs that come with the job. That’s on full display as they make decisions about planting order. 
Farmers’ harvest goals and their intentions for the following crop year factor into that strategy, says Jed Norman, an LG Seeds agronomist in Iowa. “Those looking to push the needle are always thinking through how they might better their operation with strategy tweaks from season to season.” 

Consider the past and goals for the future

A farmer can use that assessment to tweak (or overhaul) their plan, aiming for even better results. Norman says the other major player in that planting order strategy should be the farmer’s goals for the season.  

“A farmer might have a grain dryer system and want to harvest a field relatively early to push yields,” Norman offers as an example. “Or a farmer with manure and limited storage for it may need to get the crop out earlier so they have acres to spread it on.” 

Farmers should cater planting order and the relative maturities of their hybrids to those timelines.  

A good seedbed outweighs all

With that in mind, he encourages farmers to have a strategy for planting order but be ready to adjust it to ensure crops are planted to good seedbeds. Norman says, “Regardless of your plans for hybrid and field order, if you don’t have a good seedbed and seed-to-soil contact, you’ll fight an uphill battle all season.”  

Farmers should pay attention to the soil temperatures and soil moisture of individual fields. “Planting before fields are fit can result in hardpan or sidewall compaction that jeopardizes final stand and yield potential,” he explains.  

Spreading planting dates spreads risk

“A better strategy is to spread those planting dates as well as the relative maturities of hybrids to mitigate that risk.” That can also help with time management when it comes to things like nutrient or fungicide applications, he adds.  

Additional considerations

Farmers with dual-purpose corn acres should try to align the  R5 stage of development when silage is typically cut with a timeframe when they know they will have the workers, space and equipment in position to package and pack the feedstock.  

Farmers with manure to spread need to know how many acres they will need available. They should also adjust their hybrid selection and maturities to make sure they have seed solutions for capitalizing on that manure application.  

Farmers who utilize cover crops need to think through how that fits within their management plan and how that might factor into planting order and hybrid maturities.  

“The bottom line when it comes to planting order is that farmers should try to stick with their plans but be ready to adapt to whatever is thrown their way,” Norman says.

Source: LG Seeds

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