Looking Ahead: Producers Prepare for the 2017 Season

With harvest now wrapping up across the region, the focus has shifted predominantly to late-fall practices that are part of the pre-planning process for 2017.
While pre-planning is something all producers do, it’s highly  individualized for each farming operation. Components like soil type and health and current and future planting plans factor into the planning of late-fall practices like liming, the use of cover crops, strip tilling and manure application.
“Each grower is unique,” said Matt Salentiny, agronomist with Centrol Crop Consulting based out of Marshall.
As an agronomist, Salentiny helps producers select hybrids, test soil fertility, choose chemicals and fertilizers, and consider tillage and cover crop options.
“I work with all types of farming practices,” Salentiny said.
While a lot of pre-planning practices are common, some practices may be right for some farmers, while others aren’t.
“I don’t make blanket recommendations,” he said.
Salentiny starts planning in July and August, looking ahead to what is new and what is expiring in hybrid seeds; what type of tilling is best for a particular piece of ground; whether the farmer will be planting corn on corn; what types of fertilizer to use; and what nutrients are needed for the soil.
Determining the pH level of the soil is an important part of pre-planning. If the soil is acidic, farmers can help balance their soil by liming the fields, according to Salentiny. Liming is the application of a calcium and/or magnesium rich mineral like limestone or hydrated lime to neutralize soil acidity. Liming improves soil fertility and oxygen levels.

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