Planters are primed and waiting for dry weather

Dry weather is allowing fieldwork in some areas, but wet ground is delaying planting down South.

Matt Miles - McGehee, Arkansas

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

The predictions I was reading in January that February would be a wet month were right on target. Four years ago, we had corn up and out of the ground by this time of the year. Last year we had around 300 acres in the ground and this year, we are looking at fields with water still standing on the lower one-third of the fields. This goes to show you that no two years are ever the same when farming. The minute you think you have it all figured out, Mother Nature reminds you that she is in control and you are not. Mid-March is showing more promise and dryness, though. I assure you that we won’t be wasting a second as soon as we can set these planters down in the soil.

Precipitation map of Arkansas for 2021
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

As the wet weather delays planting, we have decided to convert one of our twin-row planters into a Precision Planting planter. It was a gamble and still is, but I think we can get this done by the time it dries out. Being relatively new to corn production, it has taken my buddies in XtremeAg and Precision Planting to convince me to make the move. I am hopeful that getting my seed all spaced perfectly will increase our productivity, and we will see some high-200- to low-300-bushel yields. Doing this so late meant we all had to get on the same page quickly and really work as a team. I’m confident the planter will be ready when things dry up. All seed and fertilizers are ready to load, and tractors are full of diesel. Wish me luck and good luck to all.

Kelly Garrett - Arion, Iowa

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

It’s taking longer to get part parts as they are delayed coming in, so our planter is still in the shop. Our parts were ordered on the first of December and didn’t arrive until mid-February. Last spring, I had concerns that inputs would be held up due to the COVID pandemic, but it wasn’t an issue then. One year later, and it appears to be an issue.

A farmer works on Kelly Garrett's John Deere planter in the shop
Photo credit: Xtreme Ag

Seed and chemicals are starting to be delivered. We are considering locking in chemicals for next year (2022) due to rising prices.

Crop insurance was set at the end of February at $4.59. This is exciting as it ensures a profit on the farm, which has not been ensured in a few years. We are looking closely at all options working with Jarod Creed through Creed Marketing. With the price set we are being aggressive with forward sales and attaching a call option to each one. The plan is to forward contract 90% of the guarantees: 160 bushels per acre is our target to have on forward contract. Most of our focus is on corn. With soybeans we are hanging back a bit to see what happens.

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.

Dry weather finally came to our side of the country, and we are spreading fertilizer. Our soft red winter wheat is finally getting some food. It’s very late, but for the wet season, it is looking OK. Certainly not a record crop, but we still need to push it and get the most out of it. Layer litter is being spread on corn and soybean ground. We are all very behind from the wet winter. Just call it farming – always different but such a fun challenge! The planters are all in the shop being gone through one at a time by a great team. Our Precision Planting machines and other seed meters are being tested in our shop. You can’t skip out on any part of the planter, it’s your first chance to make a dollar with your crop.

Our ultra-low drift nozzles from Pentair have been ordered. It’s so important to keep good tips on your sprayers and check for any potential problems that could create downtime that’s simply not an option with the sprayer. Many chemicals are being ordered as we try to match needs, prices, and programs.

Products are arriving to be tested for our XtremeAg partners, it’s going to be exciting to see what pays and doesn’t. It’s always the one thing you least expect that seems to always make the biggest return when the results are in.

This is the month we check all our subscriptions and get updates completed in our field computers and equipment. Be sure to calibrate the TCM before the planter and sprayer go into the field as it is critically important on pass-to-pass accuracies.

Grain is still being hauled every day and hopefully, we will finish up by mid-April then start hauling nitrogen in to get ready for top dressing corn. So much to do each year, but when you love what you do each day, it’s very rewarding and much nicer when commodity prices can relieve a little stress on the money side. I just pray for a safe year for all!

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