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Planting Report: Upper Midwest Hoping to Dry Out

Producers are giving the rugged design of the new Tiger-Mate 255 field cultivator high marks this spring.

Waiting out the weather — it’s a spring tradition most of us would rather avoid. This year, it’s testing the mettle of many in the western Corn Belt. Still, it’s important to remain patient and stay ready for when conditions improve.

Today’s guest blogger is Steve Lange, Case IH crop production product specialist. He covers Wisconsin, eastern Iowa, southeast Minnesota and parts of Nebraska. Here is his planting report from the field:

Weather is having a big impact on planting — or lack thereof. Most of my area is wet and cold, with less than 15 percent of the corn crop planted. We’re pretty much at a standstill with last week’s rains (and snow) that continued through the weekend.

Work through crop residue piles

Where they’ve had heavy rains, many producers are dealing with washouts and residue piling up in fields. It’s important to take the time to work out those piles. How to accomplish that varies regionally depending on soil types, terrain and tillage equipment.

Regardless of implement, you’ll probably need to work those piles more than once to break them up, chop the residue and spread it out to prepare a good seedbed. Otherwise, you’ll likely see inconsistent emergence due to poor seed-to-soil contact, shallower planting depths and cooler soil temps.

New Tiger-Mate® 255 earns high marks

Where fieldwork has occurred, early reports on the new Tiger-Mate 255 field cultivator are very positive. Producers especially like the new floating hitch option. We’re also hearing about how much they like its new rugged design and easy adjustments, and the level seedbed floor it creates.

My advice to farmers waiting out the weather: Be patient for as long as you can. With wet field conditions, the calendar flipping to May and very little corn planted, you’re undoubtedly anxious. It’s important to keep in mind that working wet fields too soon might create compaction. But I certainly understand this might be one of those years we need to make some tough decisions.

Remember, too: With the size and productivity of today’s equipment, we can cover a lot of acres in a short time. If you must plant in wetter-than-ideal conditions, be mindful of down-pressure settings on the planter row unit. Wetter, softer conditions might require less down pressure. Backing off down pressure can help eliminate additional sidewall compaction.

If conditions evolve to the point where a different tillage option or other equipment, such as track technology or upgraded planter, could help you navigate this spring’s challenges, talk to your Case IH dealer about ideas or solutions. Above all, don’t let the calendar dictate your safety. Stay alert and keep safety top of mind.

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Rainy-day planter maintenance

Are your fields ready for fieldwork?

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