Today’s guest blogger is Tony McClelland, Case IH Crop Production Specialist for Illinois and most of Missouri. Growing up, McClelland spent his summers at his family farm in Michigan. He started with Case IH in 1999 in tech support for Case IH Magnum™ and Maxxum® tractors. Before becoming a Crop Production Specialist, McClelland worked in inside sales, high horsepower tractor marketing and served as a tractor specialist.
Read his report below and let us know if planting is rolling in your area.
In my territory, farmers are optimistic that they’re getting into the field. Just about everybody is planting corn now. A few producers started last Saturday, a few more got started on Monday, and by the end of this week, we expect nearly everyone to be up and running. The exception is northern Illinois. It’s been a little cooler up there, and some rain swept through on Monday. West central Illinois has been a little too dry.
Missouri growers had been running up until last weekend, when they got rained out for a few days. Northern Missouri needs the rain – they’ve been a little too dry, even though in most areas, spring has been fairly normal. A lot of planting is already done in southwest Missouri – I’d estimate 50-75 percent of corn is already in the ground there.
If farmers aren’t planting yet, then they’re most likely working ground. Last year was a great year for harvest yields, so producers are dealing with a lot of residue in their fields. That’s posed some challenges for growers running field cultivators. The residue tends to get caught up in it as the field cultivator runs through the field. Some farmers have used vertical tillage tools, like the Case IH True-Tandem™ 330 Turbo to cut up that residue so it flows better through the field cultivator. The 330 Turbo has been doing a great job for producers.
The Case IH Early Riser® 5 series planters are doing exceptionally well. The new AccuDrive seed drive system also is performing very well. It’s been a trouble-free, maintenance-free system. The AccuDrive seed drive system provides automatic overlap control, resulting in seed savings and better seed placement. The AccuDrive seed drive system prevents overpopulation, leading to a better return on investment.
A lot of growers who are using the new 5 series planters also are running AccuStat seed sensing, which provides them with live information in the cab about singulation, skips, multiples and seed spacing variation. This allows farmers to make fine-tune adjustments on the go to maximize their planter’s performance. This uniform seed spacing helps optimize picket fence stands. The agronomic seed placement by the Early Riser row unit then helps drive photocopy plants, which can impact yield.
One of the big buzzes in the industry is technology, like AccuDrive and AccuStat, gathering data, and data management. We did a series of planter jump-start meetings in March, and this was one of the popular topics.
Tracking data is important because it allows growers to make better decisions. Producers have been making yield maps for their Case IH Axial-Flow® combines for a long time, and this is taking it one step further. However, it all starts with the planter. I’ve been encouraging farmers to use Advanced Farming Systems® to create applied maps of seed varieties.
The Case IH Early Riser planter can create a split planter map, where two different hoppers have different seed varieties. These maps can be exported to the combine during harvest, so growers can see which seed variety they’re harvesting. The planting map can be overlaid on the harvesting map to determine which seed varieties are performing well in which areas, enabling farmers to make decisions about which varieties work best in individual fields and soil types.
More producers are using imported prescriptions for their planters, where seed rates are varied based on the prescription for each seed variety. Another piece of this puzzle that’s shown on the maps is what products were applied to the field, such as fertilizer, herbicide, insecticide, etc.
To learn more about agronomic considerations at planting and photocopy plants, click here to request the new Agronomic Design Insights report on seed placement accuracy.