From wet to dry to way too wet, field conditions across the southern United States are challenging farmers more than usual this spring. Case IH track technology and perseverance are helping growers plant as timely as possible.
Today’s guest blogger is Samantha McLeod, Case IH crop production product specialist. Samantha covers much of the Southeast, including southern Georgia and Alabama, much of Mississippi, all of Louisiana, continuing west across Texas and Oklahoma. Here is her planting report from the field:
My territory is far-reaching and diverse. I get to help farmers who raise all types of crops, from corn and soybeans to cotton and peanuts and produce, including watermelons and cantaloupe. The fields, climate and growing conditions mirror the cropping diversity.
This year’s conditions have ranged from typical spring weather challenges in many areas to severe flooding in the Mississippi Delta to a nearly ideal start in parts of Texas. In fact, around Corpus Christi, corn planting began in January, and the crops are doing well. Up in the Panhandle, where they grow a lot of cotton, the season has been relatively normal and on schedule.
The season has been much more difficult in the delta region. Record-breaking rainfall during the second week of March flooded out early planted crops. One farmer I work with estimated he could salvage only 200 acres of the 2,000 acres he had planted. As flood waters receded and farmers have returned to their fields, seed-corn availability is limiting replant options. This likely will increase cotton acres, while some farmers will wait and plant early soybeans.
Away from the flooded areas, corn planting started within the last week or two. It’s a little behind, but progressing. Georgia farmers have ridden a roller coaster this season, with constant wet-dry spells. Planting is lagging a bit, but most of the corn is in. Attention now is shifting to produce crops.
Through the wet conditions, tracked tractors truly have delivered value. We have a high concentration of Magnum™ Rowtrac™ series tractors in Louisiana. Growers there are taking note of how much earlier they’ve been able to get into their wet fields. Once in the fields, farmers also are realizing the advantages of our precision farming components, especially the DeltaForce® hydraulic active down-force control. In this year’s tough field conditions, an important advantage is that DeltaForce also provides lift to keep the row unit at a proper, consistent depth across soft spots.
Farmers across my territory are excited about the new 2000 series Early Riser® planter and seeing it in action. But we’re also seeing a burgeoning interest in strip-tillage, as growers look to reduce tillage as a way use less fuel and lower costs.
As we strive to hold down expenses, my advice is to work with your local Case IH dealer to keep your equipment well-maintained and in good repair. Inspect equipment carefully, adhere to maintenance intervals and replace wear parts to help keep everything functioning properly and reduce downtime. Timely tillage, planting and application can go a long way toward helping your crops reach their full yield potential. Stay safe, and have a successful #Plant16.
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