This week has been the start of planting for many in Iowa. After the recent cold spell, conditions are favorable to start fieldwork back up again. It’s likely a significant portion of crop ground in Iowa will get planted this week, with the majority of the weather forecast being supportive of field activities.
A few things to keep in mind as your operation moves through the rest of the week:
- As the soil continues to dry across the state, don’t forget to check on your tillage equipment and evaluate if the settings you were running the beginning of the week—when conditions were more marginal—are still the right settings to operate at now. Evaluate tillage performance on the wings of the implement as well as directly behind the tractor where more compaction is typically present and clodding is often more prevalent.
- Pay attention to seed placement. All the technology in the world does not eliminate getting out of the cab and digging behind the planter to evaluate where you are placing the seed.
- Downforce is a major factor for proper seed placement. Monitor changing conditions within a field to ensure the seed is not being placed too deep or shallow. For information on setting downforce, check out this recent video from ISU Digital Ag.
- Monitor row cleaners and closing wheels to ensure soil is properly prepared ahead of the openers and the trench is closed after we place the seed into it. Different settings may likely be needed for the headlands compared to other areas of the field.
Figure 1. Ensuring the seed is at proper depth, placed where there is moisture and properly closed with minimal air pockets surrounding the seed is key to speedy germination and even emergence.
Ryan Bergman is a Program Coordinator in Ag Technology at Iowa State University where he is part of a 20+ person research team focusing on precision agriculture, big data, telematics, data analytics, aerial imagery, and ag machinery automation. Ryan has received both his bachelor’s and mas...