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Field damage from last season slows down planting

XtremeAg’s Kelly Garrett, Matt Miles, and Kevin Matthews are working full force in planting season. Kelly is still battling effects of the derecho. Matt is off to a great start, and Kevin is getting all the planters started.

Kelly Garrett - Arion, Iowa

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

The derecho that hit us last August 10 is having lasting effects. Our high-yield irrigated corn that was blown down has made planting a challenge. The planters could only go 60 feet before getting stopped up from leftover debris. We have a neighbor who’s helping to clear the field by bailing the cornstalks before we can resume planting in that field.

Soybean planting started on April 6. We were able to just get started then were rained out for about a week. Currently, about 35% of our beans are planted. Soil temperature on April 5 was 81°F. and has now dropped to 48°F. at 3 inches depth. Our corn planting won’t begin until next Monday, April 26, based on our temperature forecast.

An Iowa farmer plants with a John Deere tractor and planter
Photo credit: XtremeAg

The soybeans we are planting are Enlist from Hefty treated with Obvius Plus and Flo Rite from BASF. Rhizolizer Duo from Locus Ag Solutions and Vertex from Terra Max is being applied in-furrow. Early plant populations will range from 100,000 to 120,000 seeds per acre. As soil temperatures warm up, we will drop those populations to 80,000 to 100,000 seeds per acre. We also have an irrigated test plot with populations that range from 30,000 to 120,000 per acre.

Our preapplication spray for soybeans is almost finished. We are using 2,4-D and Authority from FMC.

Matt Miles - McGehee, Arkansas

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

Wow is all I can say! Even though we’ve had above-normal spring rain, we have somehow been blessed with windows for a lot of crops to get out of the ground. We are currently 100% planted on corn, 60% on beans, 25% on rice, and 7% on cotton. All of our corn is out of the ground and about three-quarters of our beans have broken through. We are off to one of our best starts.

After the last two years of being a little late, we decided to purchase another planter solely for beans. This has helped us be more efficient and we are already seeing the ROI on it. We are looking at a very cool week ahead, but I think we’re in pretty good shape for it at this point in the planting season.

We started spraying herbicides on corn as well as making our first Y-drop sidedress application.

A tractor fire on a farm in Arkansas
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Of course, we are always reminded that our industry is full of dangers. We had a tractor catch a low-hanging electrical pole, and now we have one less tractor. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Please stay aware of your surroundings as you push through the long days of another planting season.  

Good luck to all during planting season. Be safe!

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.

Plant 2021 is in full swing now and we have corn and soybeans going in the ground. Field repair is a never-ending chore it seems as we keep our excavators, track loaders, skid steers, disk, and box blades in front of the planters. I just can’t plant over a wash or around a tree. Last year’s hurricanes left unreal damage to the fields. Some days we just stop a planter and repair the rough areas. We know if it is not done then the sprayers and combines will take unnecessary abuse later this season.

The drain tile we installed from Advanced Drainage Systems earlier this spring has already made a huge difference. Those fields were some of the best we’ve planted so far.

Our first trial plot is planted, a Nachurs fertility plot on Netafim subsurface drip-irrigated land with populations from 28K to 40K using a 111-day corn. This week we plan to plant our field day plots. Trial plots are very time-consuming but always end up being excellent learning opportunities for all.

We are watching our soft red winter wheat closely. Once it starts to head, we will jump on it quick with a fungicide to prevent scab with our milling quality wheat. This is one disease that will devastate a wheat crop if not held in check. Then we pray for warm temperatures and no late freezes.

A truck, seed tender, planter, and tractor sitting in a North Carolina field
Photo credit: XtremeAg

All the shop work on the planters has paid off. I’m so impressed with my team and the job they do. Three planters went to the field ready with zero issues: all updates were performed, bolts tightened, fertilizer systems cleaned with no leaks or plugging issues. This makes kicking off planting season enjoyable.

This week many of our XtremeAg partners will be putting their plots in as well on corn and soybeans. The information will be great to learn how these products perform in a real farm environment. We try to require a 20-plus-acre trial size and recommend 50 acres so we learn what pays for our XtremeAg members.

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