Beware of the Perils of Passion

Nor' east Thinkin'

It can untrack many great expectations

Published on: March 21, 2010


This may not be about what you think it’s about. (This Web site is an agricultural one, and fairly conservative of thought.) But read on.


With the rapid escalation of “Spring Fever”, young men’s fancy turns to mud racing and older men’s fixate on planting. The passion of this season, the farmer’s zeal, the push to see new crop push up is not unlike flipping on a lightning-speed browser or downing a quart of Red Bull.

The mental rush of spring and its intoxicating fuel fumes can be as entrapping as mud and planter errors. That’s why Russ McLucas, a veteran no-tiller from McConnellsburg, Pa., loves to talk about heading off “oops” errors done in the heat of planting season.


“Paying close attention to planting equipment and soil conditions before you go to the field pays massive rewards in not having to redo afterwards.” As he says, “If you have time to do it over, you had time to do it right.”

Skips and gaps caused the planter errors have a huge cost today – beyond your seed costs! With hybrid yield potential rising ever-faster due to seed technologies, the yield penalty for those skips and gaps also rises.

As Penn State Agronomist Del Voight reports “In row unevenness robs 12% of yield.” Just one inch of in-row deviation cuts yield potential by 2.5 to 4 bushels per acre. The average deviation in an average grower’s field is 4.5 inches. That’s up to 18 bushels.

So before you fire up that planter tractor, please reread McLucas’ and Voight’s advice on page 14 of your March American Agriculturist. It’s one article that could make or save you hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars.


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