Spring planting tips

A mild winter and higher than average temperatures have some farmers anxiously awaiting spring planting, but before they begin they need to consider a few tips.

Bill Field, a Purdue University Extension farm safety specialist, states that the most important safety tips for farmers to remember this spring are to set realistic work priorities and to be prepared.

“Farmers often feel pressured to get into the fields too early and that can often cause problems," said Field. "Taking time now to get ready for planting season will prevent more mishaps in the long run."

According to a Corn & Soybean Digest article, one way for farmers to get ready for spring planting is to take an assessment of previous years' problems and make changes now to save time and energy when the planting season begins.

Ohio farmers should also be prepared to deal with challenges brought by the lingering harvest effects of 2011 and the unusually warm winter experienced this year, such as ruts, compaction, early weed growth, insects and disease.

Tips for spring-planting challenges (Ohio’s Country Journal)

Ruts and Compaction: Light tillage should be used for ruts that must be filled before planting and used only when soil conditions are favorable. No-till farmers should perform tillage only where ruts are present and don’t disturb the rest of the field. Performing unnecessary tillage to an entire field will be detrimental to the long-term benefits of continuous no-till.

Early Weed Growth: Application of an early burndown while weeds are small enough to be controlled by herbicides is important. Farmers should be prepared to make timely burndown applications this spring when field conditions are right.

Insects: With more insects, seed treatments like fungicides and insecticides will benefit the early development of seedlings. Biological seed treatments that grow with the plant will offer extended protection in the early stages of crop development as well.

Disease: Farmers should work with their seed company to choose hybrids or varieties with disease resistance. It’s critical to know what diseases were present previously and select resistant varieties accordingly. Tilling residue and rotating crops are also options for managing diseases that survive on crop residue.

While farmers can’t control the weather, they can evaluate problems and make timely management decisions to increase their chances for a successful 2012 harvest.

Have you or do you know a farmer who has started to prepare for spring planting? Do you have any tips to offer? How are you or a farmer you know overcoming spring-planting challenges?

Photo obtained from: 123rf.com

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