What We’ve Learned: AGCO Crop Tour 2018 in North America
Preliminary results from the third year of the AGCO® Crop Tour™ in North America are in from on-farm tests at 10 locations across the Midwest.
After measuring stand counts, dug roots and corn ears, this year’s plots confirmed previous Crop Tour findings on planting depth and down-force control. The 2018 Crop Tour also explored the importance of residue management and showed how an innovative new tool can better equip producers to make adjustments—in real time—about best planting depths as well as seeding rates and multi-hybrid seeding. Below is a brief summary of this year’s trials.
As previous years’ plots demonstrated, planting depth is a major factor in placing seeds in the best environment for even germination and emergence. In most soils and conditions, corn should be planted from 1.5 inches to 3 inches deep to ensure seeds are in sufficient moisture to promote even germination.
The right amount of down force is critically important to ensure that planting, even in variable soil types and conditions, is occurring at a uniform depth to help promote even and on-time emergence. That’s what Crop Tour plot results revealed again in 2018. Too little or too much down force on the row units affected emergence significantly.
Keeping residue out of the row provides a warmer environment and increased seed-to-soil contact for early-season crop development, leading to stronger, healthier plants. Crop Tour plots also revealed that preventing residue “hair-pinning” improves uniformity of emergence.
Soil Moisture, Temperature and Organic Matter
A new tool, the SmartFirmer® seed firmer from Precision Planting®, was put through numerous tests during the 2018 Crop Tour. With the ability to measure real-time moisture, temperature and organic matter levels in the furrow, SmartFirmer helps inform decisions on-the-go during planting, while also recording and mapping the data for future use.