Posts Tagged ‘seeding’
- Replace worn sweeps, blades, and harrows
- Level tillage tools
- Set working depths
- Monitor speed
- Avoid Compaction
Developing a good seedbed is important to get the crops off to a good start; yet often overlooked or difficult to obtain. Seedbeds need to have uniform residue distribution, loose aerated soil structure, and a level soil profile on both the surface and at the working depth of shanks or blades. As we move into spring consider the following:
REPLACE: Now is a good time to check spring tillage tools for damage and wear. Replace worn shovels, blades, and harrow components. It is difficult to do a good job with worn ground-engaging components.
There are a number of factors to consider when placing fertiliser with seed according to Dr. Mike Stewart from the International Plant Nutrition Institute in Norcross, Georgia, USA.
Placing fertiliser in-furrow with the seed during planting is a common practice in small grain production and to some extent in row-crop production. Placing fertiliser with the seed can be an effective and beneficial management practice, but over- application and mismanagement can result in seedling damage, and ultimate stand and yield loss. The type of crop, fertiliser source, row spacing, and soil environment all affect how much fertiliser can be safely applied with seed.
Type of crop: Some crops are more susceptible to injury from in-furrow fertilisation than others. Oil seed crops are particularly sensitive; therefore most guidelines allow no fertiliser placed with the seed of these crops. The general order of sensitivity (most to least) among major crops grown on the Great Plains in the United States is soybeans > sorghum > corn > small grains.
Type of fertiliser: Fertilisers are salts, and these salts can affect the ability of the seedling to absorb water… too much fertiliser (salt) and seedling desiccation or “burn” can occur. Some fertiliser materials have a higher salt index or burn potential than others. Salt index values are usually included in basic agronomic texts, or are available from fertiliser dealers or extension resources such as government bodies or universities. As a general rule, most common nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) fertilisers have higher salt indexes than phosphorus (P) fertilisers; therefore, a common predictor for the potential for salt damage is the sum of N+K2O per acre (0.4 ha) applied with the seed. For example, most guidelines for corn (maize) in 30 inch (76.2 cm) rows will allow for no more than 10 lb (4.5kg)/A of N+K2O in medium to fine textured soils — assuming no urea-containing products are used.
Ammonia formation potential of fertiliser: Fertilisers that have the potential to release free ammonia can cause ammonia toxicity to germinating seeds or young emerging seedlings. Thus, extra caution must be used with in-furrow placement of urea-containing fertilisers. In some cases urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) or urea can be applied successfully in-furrow in small grain production, but this requires careful consideration of several factors including those discussed below.
Row spacing: For a specific set of circumstances (i.e. crop, soil conditions, etc.) the safe rate of in-furrow fertiliser increases as row spacing narrows or decreases. A narrowing row space has the effect of diluting fertiliser over more linear feet (metres) of row.
Soil type and environment: Soil conditions that tend to concentrate salts, or stress the germinating seed, increase the potential for damage. So, the safe limit for in-furrow fertilisation is reduced with sandier soil texture and in drier soil conditions. Also, environmental conditions that induce stress and/or slow germination (e.g. cold temperature) can prolong fertiliser-seed contact and thus increase the likelihood of damage.
Seed bed utilisation: The more scatter there is between seed and fertiliser in the seed band or row, the more fertiliser can be safely applied. The type of planting equipment and seed opener influences the intimacy of seed-fertiliser contact. The concept of “seed bed utilisation” (SBU) has been used to address this factor. SBU is simply the seed row width divided by the row width (i.e., proportion of row width occupied by seed row). The wider the seed row for a specific row width the greater the SBU. As SBU increases so does the safe rate of in-furrow fertilisation.
* Reprinted from the International Plant Nutrition Institute, Plant Nutrition Today Series by Dr Mike Stewart. http://www.ipni.net/pnt
As farmers around the country evaluate young plants at emergence, it is also the perfect time to judge whether or not their planters performed up to expectations.
“Farmers only get 30 to 40 opportunities to plant in their entire career,” said Mark Hanna, extension agricultural engineer with Iowa State University. “Farmers can benefit from taking a step back and evaluating how effective their planting was to make changes for next year.”Driven by pressure from higher costs, farmers expect more return than ever on their investment in seed. A consistently accurate planter plays a vital role in farmers’ ability to see their return become a reality.
Plant emergence can reveal poor planter performance in several ways, including: Read the rest of this entry »
With the row-crop planting season imminent, now’s the time to fully prepare your equipment to ensure you are ready to strike during optimum weather and soil conditions.
“If you already own a row-crop planter, you should be giving it a thorough inspection and making any adjustments and repairs,” says Cameron McKenzie, Seeding & Tillage Product Marketing Manager for the farm equipment brand, Challenger. “Worn or incorrectly-aligned components can compromise the machine’s settings with a subsequent negative effect on yields. Do not skip pre-season maintenance. I cannot emphasise this enough. Giving your planter some tender loving care now will give it the very best chance for maximum performance and uniform planting of seed.”
Pre-season maintenance should include cleaning of the seed tubes and monitor sensors. If the seed tubes show signs of wear then these should be replaced. Check the condition of the seed conveyor belt and the seed meters. Adjust or replace worn disc openers and ensure the disc openers and furrow closers are accurately aligned.
Also crucial is to check tyres for the correct pressures. Indeed, this is something that should carried out daily once planting begins since incorrect tyre pressure can influence seed rates. Equal tyre pressure keeps the tool bar level and parallel to the ground. This allows the coulters, disc openers and closing wheels to run perpendicular to the ground rather than being tilted. Ground-driven planters use the tyre for ground driving the seed, fertilizer and chemical metering systems, and therefore, the tyre needs to be properly inflated to match the same tyre diameter used to create the seed rate charts in the operator’s manual. An under-inflated tyre will lead to a higher seeding/fertilization rate as the tyre makes more rotations for each hectare of land covered.
“Maximising uniformity of emergence produces strong, healthy seedlings,” Cameron explains. “Uneven emergence can reduce yields by 10-20%. Plants need to be evenly spaced and planted at uniform depth. Indeed, depth control is one of the big factors affecting germination and consistency in crop emergence.”
To read the full article, please click here
How do you protect your soils from yield-sapping hardpan?
“Soil compaction is one of the most common problems farmers face today – it severely limits yields and impacts margins,” says Cameron McKenzie, Seeding & Tillage Product Marketing Manager for the farm equipment brand, Challenger. “However, key steps can be taken to deal with it through the use of proper soil management.”
“As the name implies, compaction occurs when soil particles are compacted together, restricting the amount of space for the air and water needed for optimum plant growth. Compaction can occur naturally or be caused by farming practices. Most often, compaction is created by today’s modern heavy equipment traffic. The key to controlling it is to understand your farm’s soils, ascertain the root cause of compaction and learn how to reduce its costly effects.”
“Compaction tends to build up over time and gets worse every time you work your fields – most particularly in wet conditions,” he says. “If you haven’t deep-ripped your fields for example, compaction from a wet spring three years ago can dramatically lower yields further down the line.”
Certain soils compact more easily than others. Soils made up of particles of about the same size compact less than soils with particles of varied sizes. Wet soils compact more easily than dry, while soils high in organic matter have a better structure and are more likely to resist compaction.
Some important things to remember:
- Most compaction is caused by equipment traffic
- Up to 80% of compaction in the field occurs on the first pass of the season
- Surface compaction is caused by high ground pressure created by reduced contact area
- Deep compaction is caused by high axle loads
- Slip compaction is caused by low surface contact areas and smearing of the topsoil
- Pinch-row compaction is caused by dual or triple wheels as ground pressure from the tyres shifts from the centre of the tyre to the outside
To read the full article, please click here