Near-ideal conditions this spring have helped Minnesota farmers plant their crops in a timely fashion. It’s been a complete 180 from recent years. And that’s a good thing — as long as the rains return.
Today’s guest blogger is Lucas Kracht, a Case IH crop production sales specialist. Lucas covers most of Minnesota.
This planting season has been a blessing for most farmers in my territory, compared with the last couple of springs. Each of those years was extremely wet. Farmers in some parts of southern Minnesota weren’t even able to get a crop in the ground. This spring has been the exact opposite. Most farmers started planting corn around the middle of April. Aside from some scattered rain showers, farmers have been able to work steadily for the past three weeks. In my estimation, the corn crop is about 80 to 90 percent planted, and more than 50 percent of the soybeans are in the ground.
The biggest challenge this spring for most of my growers is not if they will get the crop in the ground, it’s when should they plant — and then, how do they maximize their yield potential?
Back on April 15, I was in a central Minnesota field with a grower doing side-by-side comparisons between a Case IH 1265 Early Riser® planter and a competitive planter. The farmer was agonizing over whether he should be putting in all of his corn that early. We monitored the field for three weeks, and as of May 5, we started to see some emergence on the portion of the field planted using the Early Riser. Those seeds sat in the ground for almost 20 days because of cold ground temperatures.
Most customers have been debating whether to, as one farmer put it, “chase the moisture” or “lay it in shallow” and pray for rain. Most years, growers move right from planting corn to planting soybeans as the weather permits. This year, I have heard of multiple customers who are waiting for moisture. Fortunately, we’ve received some much-needed rains over the last couple days.
Case IH equipment has helped growers this spring in many ways. Our area’s tried-and-true practice of using the Ecolo-Tiger® 875 ripper in the fall followed by the Tiger-Mate 200 field cultivator in the spring has helped provide excellent crop-residue breakdown and an even soil temperature across the field. Our planters have been running smoothly. Customers have come to understand why we call our planter line Early Riser.
My best advice for farmers is to use the resources available through their Case IH dealership and their Case IH field reps. We are here to serve customers and help them work through any and all issues they might encounter.