With planting season just around the corner, you're probably raring to get to the field. No matter how meticulous you may be, a reminder of some planting strategies can't hurt.
You've no doubt fine-tuned your planting equipment to achieve good seed-to-soil contact and uniform seed placement. But you also need to make sure the planter is placing the seed at the proper depth, says Stephen Smith, Agronomy Services Manager, Mycogen Seeds.
"Planting conditions change with every field. Crop rotation, previous tillage operations, residue amounts, moisture conditions, soil types, soil structure, field uniformity and compaction are just a few of the variables that will change from field to field. Because of these, seed planting depth can vary greatly, even within the same field," he explains.
Proper corn seed planting depth is between 1.5 and 2 inches. "Seed planted less than 1 inch deep may have root establishment problems which can lead to increased herbicide injury, lack of root mass and increased root lodging. Seed planted more than 2.5 inches deep will potentially take longer to emerge and will be placed in a more hostile growing environment," he explains.
You need to stop often and check seed location, he adds. When planting into a new field, planting depth should be checked frequently because it may vary an inch or more by location within the field.
"Check planting depth in an area that is representative of the field. Field margins that are exposed to heavy traffic from previous years and areas where soil has been recently disturbed are not good areas to check. If residue conditions change greatly across the field or tillage practices are not uniform, then seed depth should be rechecked in areas where field conditions change," he recommends. "At the very least, be alert to changing planting conditions, and take a moment to review activity behind the planter. A few well-spent minutes can result in a better, healthier stand and may prevent a disaster resulting from improper seed depth."