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Planting Report: Wheat and Sugar Beets are In, Corn is Close in the Dakotas and Red River Valley

Tony Randall is the Case IH crop production sales specialist covering eastern South Dakota and the Red River Valley. He grew up on a diversified crop farm in Le Sueur, Minn. – the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant – and has an agronomy degree from the University of Minnesota-Waseca. Tony has been with Case IH for two years.

We’re done seeding wheat, and sugar beets are pretty well done, too. I’m guessing we’re close to 70 percent done with corn. A number of guys have started planting soybeans. We’re just getting started with the specialty crops. Potatoes are mostly in. Edible beans and sunflowers are last to get planted.

We started the planting season abnormally dry all across my area. In the last seven days, a lot of my South Dakota territory picked up anywhere from 3 to 8 inches of rain. We’ve gone from abnormally dry to abnormally wet in a week.

Unfortunately, the Grand Forks area is still abnormally dry. There’s talk of replanting sugar beets in the northern end of the Red River Valley because it has been so dry. It’s the first time anyone can remember that the river never hit flood stage, because there wasn’t any snow. Good grief, it was 75 degrees in February. Normally we’re messing with mud, not with dry dirt.

American Crystal and North Dakota State University invite growers to bring in their planter meters for testing to make sure they’re working correctly. The Advanced Seed Meter from the Early Riser® planter performed awesome with sugar beets for spacing and singulation and showed better results at higher planting speed than any other meter on the market! So our seed meter tests great, but that doesn’t measure the bottom half of the row unit. That’s where planting demos and stand counts come in.

We’ve been doing a lot of sugar beet and corn planting demos with the Early Riser 1260, a 36-row planter with 22-inch row spacing. I’ll be doing stand counts in those fields all this week. The stand counts are the final piece of the demonstration. We’ll enter the data into www.standcount.com. That’s a Case IH website site that will help you evaluate your plant stand quality, compare your results and access our database of agronomic data. It’s free, and it’s a great tool.

The big buzz in my area is tiling and drainage rights. Yield response to drainage tiles has been phenomenal. In the South Dakota Prairie Potholes region, you might have 20 acres of little potholes in the field that are always kind of wet. As soon as you put in drain tile, the guys will see a 20-80 bushel increase in corn yields. Some South Dakota farmers have paid for their tile investment the first year – it just takes a year or two to get all the permits and jump through all the hoops.

In North Dakota, they don’t have as many drainage rights issues because they already have drainage ditches. But most of the installations here require a lift pump to lift water out of the tiles and get it drained off. It’s great soil, wonderful ground, but it’s so flat that getting rid of excess water is a problem. Farming changes completely once they tile a field.

Have you tiled any fields to improve drainage? What kind of results did you get?

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