In the second installment of our Agronomic Design principles blog series, we’re talking about proper seed bed conditions and how they can affect crop emergence.
What strategies do you use to obtain proper seed bed conditions?
“If you think about the highest yield the grower has, it’s right before they plant the seed. It’s all downhill after that,” says Dr. Fred Below, Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
He adds: “Even, rapid emergence is the first step to producing a high yield. When growers don’t have a proper seed bed, especially when it’s cold and wet, the seeds come up late. A seedling that comes up a day, two, three days late can actually be a weed later on. You don’t get your full yield potential out of those seeds that emerge late.”
Dr. Rob Zemenchik, Case IH Crop Production Marketing Manager, says that after more than five years of extensive field research, Case IH found that up to 10 percent of seed planted failed to emerge or develop a full ear at harvest because of cloddy, uneven output.
He says the Case IH Ecolo-Tiger 875 helps producers achieve the ideal 6-inch or smaller clod size in prairie soils and 4-and-a-half-inch or smaller clod size in forest soils. This helps growers dramatically reduce the risk of emergence problems in the spring by regulating moisture levels and temperature.
Zemenchik adds: “The shanks and sweeps of Case IH Tiger-Mate 200 have half the tendency to tip up on its nose than other leading brands. This reduces the warm and cold soil patterns that could affect uniformity of seed germination. It also allows growers to run the field cultivator at a shallower depth, leading to appropriate water absorption by the seed. All of this leads to higher yield potential.”
It takes several steps and patience to achieve proper seed bed conditions, but you can make large gains in early emergence.