Planning For 2020

Mar 30, 2020


2019 was a miserable year.  Depending on the area, there were many acres that went unplanted or were planted to cover crop later in season.  In-season fertilizer applications were missed, weeds got out of control, and the headaches carried on into harvest which continues even now in some places.  But now it’s 2020.  It’s a new year and there’s a much more favorable outlook for field readiness and growing season. While there are certainly some major issues happening outside of the industry which are affecting markets, we can’t let that stop us from getting back to farming and producing the way that only we can.  I just want to take a minute to remind everyone about some things that may have gotten overlooked in last year’s chaos.

As we get back to our normal fertility programs, nutrient management should be a topic on everyone’s mind.  If possible, get some soil samples taken before you send the spreaders out.  It may be difficult for a producer or agronomist to estimate what the nutrient levels will be after a year of fallow or weeds.  Also keep fallow syndrome in mind and maybe bump up the rate on starter fertilizers to compensate for unavailable soil phosphorous.  As we go through the year, take some time to tissue sample to be aware of how your fertility program is holding up with whatever weather patterns we may encounter.

If you have your hybrids picked out, check with your salesman to see what the nitrogen needs will be.  Preparing an in-season fertilizer plan today will set you up for success as we move into summer.  With a dry forecast ahead in the short term, don’t sleep on nitrogen stabilizers.  The benefits outweigh the costs in almost any dry weather situation.  It’s going to be very important to protect investments in fertilizer this year as there is some uncertainly in the upstream supply chain.  A nitrogen stabilizer doesn’t replace an in-season application, but it will help close the gap.  As a side note, most of what we consider spring tillage does not do enough to incorporate fertilizer.  Volatility can occur in the top 3-4 inches of soil as well as the surface.

The final piece to nutrient management is crop modeling tools.  Talk to your Full Circle salesman about Field Forecasting Tool.  It will help you manage your key acres and can help us predict when the optimal time for in-season application is as well as identify stressors in the field. 

Apart from nutrient management, weed control will be absolutely critical in 2020.  The weed bank in most soils is larger than it has been in decades.  Use a pre-emerge chemistry before planting followed by layered residual chemistries.  I cannot stress this enough.  The products available for in-crop burndown will not be able to carry the load this year.  Dicamba, 2,4-D, and Liberty are awesome broad-spectrum options in a normal system, but weed populations are going to be astronomical this year.  Even if it seems expensive, a pint of Charger Basic early might save one, two, or potentially even more applications late in the season which have a tendency to get comically high-priced when we are trying to take down 3 foot tall weeds like waterhemp, kochia, and marestail which will be more present this year than in recent memory.

To reiterate, nutrient management and weed control should be at the top of our minds as we move into a new year with a fresh, renewed outlook on farming.  While things around us are uncertain at this juncture, we are in position to have a successful growing season and provide a source of reassurance for others in these trying times. 

Let’s do it the right way.


Tony Lyren
Agronomy Sales
Doland


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