It’s important to glean more than grain during harvest. You’re likely already gathering precision farming data. When you supplement that information with notes and observations from the combine cab and at ground level, the additional knowledge can help you make productive adjustments heading into 2017.
Keeping an eye on your combine’s yield monitor can give you a good feel for trouble spots. Keeping the other eye trained on the field can help you identify obvious problems, such as weed escapes, disease or insect pressure, soil compaction or plant integrity. Here are a few suggestions about what to watch for while harvesting your crops:
Stand counts count
Your local Extension office or the agronomy department at your state’s land-grant university can provide directions and calculations — similar to those from Iowa State University and the University of Illinois — for determining final stand count. When you consider that losing just 1,000 ears per acre cuts yields by 5 to 7 bushels per acre — potentially more than 1,000 bushels on a quarter section — it’s helpful to know how many of the seeds you planted last spring actually produced a viable plant. Factoring in your seeding rate, expected germination percentage and a standard stand loss can help you determine if your final stand count falls within an acceptable range. If it doesn’t, or if you want to do better, you can begin exploring solutions, such as hybrid selection, planter performance, crop residue management and seedbed preparation.
[Tweet “Keep your eyes peeled this fall for ways to improve production. Via @Case_IH”]Weeds on the rise
The seat of the combine is a good place to look for weed problems to fix for next year.1 University of Nebraska Extension specialists suggest focusing on these areas to help assess your weed management program:
- Scattered large plants or small patches that were not controlled by your primary program can indicate resistant weeds. Dead weeds adjacent to the large ones provide even more evidence of potential resistance. Monitor those fields more closely next year.
- Weed patches indicate your weed management program is not consistent across the field and a change is needed. Do nothing, and the patches will persist or become larger.
- Among the patchy weed problems, perennial weeds require special attention. Many perennials are less susceptible than annuals to most weed management programs. Identify problem areas during harvest so you can more easily target them in the spring.
Use what you learn
Develop a system to help track and organize your notes, observations and thoughts. This can help you more easily append your precision farming data and ensure it’s available to help you achieve the most complete analysis possible. And that can lead to better decisions and increased profit potential.
Whether you need help sorting through all the knowledge you’ve gained from this growing season or assistance in developing solutions, your Case IH dealer and our team of crop production product specialists are ready to go to work for you.
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