If the weather forecasters are right some of you may be able to plant by mid-April if you choose. The NCAA basketball tournament is in full swing, but planting season is roughly 30 days away. Are you ready?
Here is a 20-point checklist that covers more than just the planter. Dave Nanda, a crops consultant, reviewed this checklist.
1. Have you checked each planter unit on a monitoring stand to make sure it is accurate?
2. Have you pulled samples from each lot of seed and used them to calibrate your planter, likely using a monitor stand? If you have you will know which settings to change on air planters when seed size and/or grade changes.
3. Have you went over your hybrid list field by field and determined which hybrids you want to plant in each field?
4. Are you aware of weaknesses of any hybrids in your line-up, such as susceptibility to gray leaf spot? If so, you know which fields to scout when the time comes to see if a fungicide application might be needed.
5. Have you pulled your sprayer out of the shed, or drove it out, and went over it to make sure it is ready to go?
6. Have you inspected nozzles for wear on your sprayer? If you have multiple sets, be sure to inspect each set?
7. Have you tested the hardness and pH of your spray water? If it is hard, have you calculated how much ammonium sulfate, or other product, you will need to correct spray water issues?
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8. If you are burning down a cover crop, have you reviewed guidelines about only spraying in the middle part of the day?
9. If your planter is equipped with starter fertilizer attachments, have you checked to make sure each unit will place fertilizer where it is supposed to be? The normal placement is 2 inches to the side and 2 inches below the seed.
10. If you are doing tillage ahead of the planter, have you went over tillage equipment to see if any shovels need replacing?
11. If you have added an add-on, such as a seed singulation monitor, are you sure it is wired in properly, and that you understand how to use it?
12. Have you assessed each field for possible special insect concerns which might cause you to need to add insecticide on one or more fields?
13. Have you reviewed soil test results to determine if you can trim or cut out starter fertilizer, or are you confident that starter pays, and that it should remain in your plan?
14. If you have traded planters since last year, are you sure your tractor has hydraulic and electrical capacity needed to handle the new-to-you planter?
15. Have you stocked your tool kit or parts bin, or even parts repair truck, with some of the most common parts for your planter that could break during the season?
16. Have you had your planter unfolded and attempted to see if it is set to run level?
17. If you have changed anything in your guidance system since a year ago, have you checked to make sure the new system receives signals properly, and that is ready to roll?
18. If you planted different sizes or grades of corn seed last year, have you made adjustments for the sizes and grades you will be planting this year?
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19. If you use a seed tender, have you started the motor and made sure everything is working properly?
20. Have you made last minute checks in air pressure in tires on the planter, and on the tractor pulling the planter?
Have a good planting season!