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Crop progress report: Missouri farmer works for warmer seedbed

Agriculture.com Staff 04/19/2006 @ 10:39am

On Monday, April 17, a day when corn planting seemed stalled along Interstate 35 in southern Iowa and northern Missouri, Doug Doughty and his nephew, Kellin Ferguson, were planting corn at a good pace in Livingston County, Missouri, about an hour northeast of Kansas City.

Doughty gave some credit for the good soil conditions to a tillage tool he was using, a Phillips Rotary Harrow, an implement that scratches the top inch or less of the soil, warming it and evening the seedbed.

"It redistributes the residue, scatters it around and keeps it on top. It doesn't change the soil structure like a field cultivator. It warms the soil three or four degrees and helps with seed germination," Doughty said.

Doughty was running the machine at 8 to 9 mph with a smaller tractor. "The 30-footer only takes a 100-horsepower tractor, so you don't burn as much fuel with it," he says.

The harrow has become popular with no-tillers and farmers using other conservation tillage in this part of the state, Doughty said.

"I think it [the harrow] makes a lot of no-tillers more comfortable with their systems, and they're still getting all the soil-saving benefits," he said.

Some growers will use the harrow following a spring disking to level the ground, Doughty said.

For soybeans, Doughty prefers to drill the seed in standing corn stalks, but has used the harrow for planting late beans in wet conditions. This year, though, his corn planting is ahead of schedule, and he expects to begin planting soybeans by the end of the month.

On Monday, April 17, a day when corn planting seemed stalled along Interstate 35 in southern Iowa and northern Missouri, Doug Doughty and his nephew, Kellin Ferguson, were planting corn at a good pace in Livingston County, Missouri, about an hour northeast of Kansas City.

Doug Doughty signed up for the High Yield Team, a group of 1,200 growers who are sharing information and learning from each other about their soybean production in a project organized by Successful Farming and Agriculture Online.

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