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Planting Report: Northwestern Illinois Corn is Nearly Done, Eastern Iowa Dealing With Rain

Today’s guest blogger is Mark Swanson, the Case IH crop production sales specialist who covers eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois. With the company for 29 years, Mark has been specializing in planters since 2006.

We’re closing in on 80 percent complete with corn planting in northwestern Illinois. Some corn went in the first week of April. Normally, planting starts after April 15. Some guys have already switched to beans. We’ve had good weather and they’ve got big planters, so there’s been nothing keeping them out of the fields until the weekend rains, which we really needed.  It had been really, really dry in Illinois.

Eastern Iowa has been getting more rain, which is keeping them out of the fields, so corn planting has been a little bit slower. Four or five years ago, they also got frosted off, so Iowa growers are bit more cautious. But they’re clipping along now.

There has been frost in some areas, and the cooler weather last weekend wasn’t ideal. Ground temperatures need to be above 50. We’re not out of the frost range yet, but I don’t remember a year when Illinois farmers lost substantial yield to frost. They might have lost a leaf or two, but you need to lose three or four leaves before you really lose yield. Unless frost hits the growing point, you’re okay.

We’ve been selling a lot of red planters this spring. I think with the improvements we made last year to distribute air more effectively, this is the best Early Riser® planter we’ve ever made. We have superior seed flow from the bulk tank to the mini hopper. When you’re planting treated corn in hot, humid weather, that’s a tall order – and we delivered. The Early Riser is also the only planter on the market that puts the seed in the best agronomic environment possible. That includes seed-to-soil contact, uniform pressure, accurate planting depth across the field, accurate population and seed spacing.

The True-Tandem™ 330 Turbo has also been a big hit, especially since residue has become an issue.  With BT corn and higher plant populations, there’s a lot more, tougher residue out there. The 330 Turbo is hugely effective at sizing residue and keeping it in the top 3 inches where it’ll break down. When we demo it, it’s as good as sold. We’re also selling a lot of Ecolo-Tiger® 870 disk rippers. It gives you good fracturing, takes out compaction and leaves you with a level field after deep tillage in the fall.

For spring tillage, this has been a great season for using the Tiger-Mate® 200 with an Advanced Conditioning Systems (ACS) harrow. The tines level and the basket breaks up the clods, leaving a nice, smooth field to plant. It’s a great tool for the conventional tillage guys.

What do you use to break up tough residue and level your fields? Let us know.

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