Lower commodity prices and compressed planting times are encouraging growers to plant their crops earlier and in uncertain weather conditions.
There are advantages to planting early if done correctly, including more time to get the crops into the ground and increased time for crops to grow to their full potential. There are also risks, including cooler air temperatures, colder soil temperatures and unpredictable weather that can often leave crops more vulnerable to potential disease and insect problems.
With these advantages and disadvantages in mind, growers are continually looking for ways to help their plants emerge quicker and stronger, even in less than ideal conditions.
The following are two tips growers should consider when planting early.
1. Using effective nutrient management practices to give plants the best chances to maximize the genetic potential of their seed.
Effectively maximizing the nutrients available to plants at each stage of their growing cycle is an important way to increase overall yield and maximize profitability. It is especially critical that the appropriate essential nutrients are available to the plant at the beginning stage of their life cycle.
First, the key to ensuring a healthy level of nutrients available for uptake to the plant is to focus on the balance of all essential nutrients. In order to maximize crop production growers need to provide all key macro and micronutrients at the appropriate time.
To help achieve this goal, it’s recommended growers make sure they understand the nutrient makeup of their soil and ensure that the appropriate nutrients are available to the plant in the optimal amounts and at the appropriate time that plants need these essential nutrients.
A couple things to focus on include phosphorus management and the advanced chelate technologies that are available to growers.
- Phosphorus is an essential macronutrient already present in the soil and is an important part of phosphorus-based fertilizers.
- Having the appropriate amounts of phosphorus available to the plant at the optimal timing can have a huge impact on increasing a grower’s overall yield.
- The good news — phosphorus is an important energy-producing molecule with extremely limited soil mobility, so it will not leach from the soil.
- However, phosphorus is notorious for easily getting tied up in the soil and becoming unavailable for uptake by the plant.
- This is where chelates can help. Chelating technologies are not new, but have made significant advances. There are also several different types of chelates.
- West Central has been working with chelate technology for more than 14 years. They developed a superior ortho ortho EDDHA chelating agent called Levesol™ which helps unlock the nutrients it’s applied with, unlocks nutrients in the soil and keeps nutrients mobile in the plant all season long.
- In addition to the original Levesol, West Central also offers a dry fertilizer compatible version for growers called Levesol DFC™.
- The superior chelating agent in Levesol is also an important ingredient in their other fertilizers, including their newest addition SoyShot™ and their industry leading IDC fertilizer Soygreen®, plus their starter fertilizer Redline® and their foliar cereal fertilizer Copper-Field™
2. In-Furrow Application
In-furrow application of crop protection inputs is another great way to ensure peace of mind that the crop is protected from the beginning, and is another way growers are helping their crops have a quicker emergence and develop stronger and healthier over their entire growth cycle.
Here are the different ways in-furrow application helps protect the crops when planted early.
- Promotes quicker seed emergence that results in a healthier yield
- Provides insect and disease control from the beginning
- Promotes the solubility and uptake of essential nutrients, including phosphorus when using an effective nutrient management program as discussed above
- Ensures an increased solubility of phosphorus and other nutrients – which helps the plants grow stronger and results in increased yield
For growers, smart investments and knowledge on best practices, along with using the new or improved technologies available could make all the difference for a successful early planting season and a more profitable year.