Early signs of life and seed treatments as planting windows start to open

Matt Miles is well into planting, while Kevin Matthews and Kelly Garrett are treating seeds and finishing up shop work as they wait for their planting window to open up.

Kelly Garrett - Arion, Iowa

A fifth-generation farmer, Kelly Garrett farms corn, soybeans, and winter wheat in western Iowa.

We just finished treating our later planted soybeans with an inoculant from TerraMax. Our early planted beans have been treated with a fungicide, insecticide, and inoculant. It has been our experience that our later planted beans do not need the full treatment with insecticide and fungicide.

Getting parts and input orders continues to be a very slow process with the shipping issues caused by the pandemic. There is some seed coming in slowly, but it is much slower than I can ever remember. Chemical prices are on the rise, so we are buying up a much larger supply than normal to ensure we have the product on hand when we need it later in the season.

In the next week, we’ll finish up applying our plant food and anhydrous. We had a couple of inches of rain and the frost is now pretty well out of the ground.

We are trying something new when it comes to fungicide this year by putting FMC’s Xyway fungicide treatment in-furrow at planting. I am pretty excited about it and see it as a potential game changer when it comes to fungicide protection.

We are also working on preparing another round of acres to sell carbon credits through the Nori system with Locus Ag Solutions.

We started the process of weening our youngest calves and green-tagged them as we get ready to send them to sale in Denison, Iowa, this May. We think the market should be good because people will want to put cattle on grass later this spring. We also started calving our first round of calves this week. We need to stay on our toes as some of the mothers make it clear they are not much interested in making it easy for us.

Mother cow with her calf in a barn
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Kevin Matthews - East Bend, North Carolina

Kevin and his wife, Cindy, own and operate Matthews Family Farms of North Carolina, Inc., Precision Nutrient Management, Inc., and Deep Creek Grain, Inc. in East Bend and Yadkinville.

We finally got some dry weather to smooth up the ruts in the river bottom ground from last year’s wet harvest. We’re cleaning flood debris from the ditches and canals as we get ready to handle whatever Mother Nature throws at us this year. We are also working with our XtremeAg partner, Advanced Drainage Systems to install some more drain tile in a few problem areas. It is really rewarding to be able to take those problem areas in a field and make them profitable.

Our team is still taking a lot of seed into the warehouse, and we are immediately running it through our seed treatment process.

This week we plan to finalize all the trial work and review inventory to ensure products are on hand or in route. Now that freezing weather is past us, we will run water through our fertilizer systems on all the planters to clean any debris that accumulated over winter. We will then install the orifices and run our test for leaks so we can be ready to plant.

Last year we learned a hard lesson when we had software issues and lost some of our research data. This week we are having Climate Field View set our equipment up so we will have two different methods of collecting data to ensure our partners and members get accurate full access to all our research. Not only is it a great tool for comparing foliar treatments to exact yield quickly from an iPad but it also adds another layer of security to our record-keeping.

It was very wet this past week, but we should be able to get a few days of work in this coming week before we are supposed to get more rain. Things dry out fast this time of year and with an early Easter, we hope to be planting full swing in the next few weeks.

Map of North Carolina precipitation
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Matt Miles - McGehee, Arkansas

Matt is a fourth-generation farmer in southeast Arkansas who grows corn, soybeans, rice, and cotton.

As of Thursday, March 18, I'm excited to say we have been in the field getting some stuff done. After a tremendously wet first half of March, we put in 1,700 acres of corn the previous week and started on soybeans last week. Unfortunately, we got hit with a big rain on Wednesday and shut everything back down, but at least we got some of it done.

We are pretty excited to see that we have some of our corn up after seven days. A big difference from last year when we seemed to be waiting forever before the first signs of life.

We are currently building a sprayer that will be exclusively dedicated to Y-drop applications for better efficiency with our fertilizer placement.

If the rain holds off, we will get back into the planting groove this week on corn, beans, and rice as we have a lot of test plots to get in for next year’s plans. Good luck to all who are beginning to plant. Hopefully, we will have an awesome 2021!

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