While not many want to remember or put themselves in the mindset of where their stress levels were during the spring of 2019, one thing not to overlook is reviewing your field history notes.
With an increase in prevent planting acres – for some growers the first ones in more than a decade – making sure we know how the field was treated after it was “prevented” can help avoid some concerns or problem spots. If the field was managed for growth either chemically or from repeated tillage or was left “green” from a cover/forage crop or weeds, that puts the field at a crossroads from a decision standpoint. For example, if the field was “brown” all year, that is a very tough situation to place corn into and have it thrive the way we are accustomed to.
Odds are fairly high that Mother Nature will give some acres a tough lesson on how important microbes are to our soil health in 2020. Reviewing other details like herbicides, fertility, 2018 crop, forage harvest, cover crop termination timing or needs are important factors to consider.
Other key things to remember when going into spring include:
• Be sure to adjust your bean planter back to your normal seeding rate, not the rate many planted last for later soybean planting dates (June and July).
• Don’t get in a rush after being delayed for so long in 2019 that you do something to hurt the fresh new start we have in 2020.
• We may encounter more (or less) insect pressure depending on what the field was in 2019, especially if the field had heavy cover/forage or has high residue levels.
• If weeds weren’t controlled on prevent planted acres and went to seed, we have shifted our weed seed density levels, and potentially shifted toward different species as well. An example is someone who hasn’t had a marestail problem for quite some time by not allowing it to go seed in the past, may now have a battle to fight for years to come.
• Consider including an inoculant on soybeans (or corn) following prevent planting, especially “brown” acres.
• Think about impacts and changes to nutrient cycling on nutrient availability. For example, if heavy residue from cover crop is worked into soil near planting, we may experience a temporary tie-up of nitrogen. While if that happened in the middle of the summer last year, those could release certain nutrients during times we are not accustomed to seeing.
All of these important considerations are reasons to contact your local FS Crop Specialist to have a checkup of your plan, discuss concerns or other thoughts you have going into a fresh new year and a brand-new decade. Here’s to 2020, let’s start it right!