Repetition is Key

ReachOut: Repetition is Key from Central Valley Ag on Vimeo.

by Mike Zwingman

by Mike Zwingman

This weekend, as I aimlessly scrolled through social media and #plant16 postings, my frustration grew.  The fact that we were in what seemed to be an endless rain delay didn’t help. If I learned anything while growing up helping my Father and Grandfather, it was that one, we always manage to get the crop in; and two, it will always stop raining.

All this wringing of hands and tweets about “honey-do” lists at home got me to do something that I haven’t done in my ReachOut before. I am writing about the same topic that I did last week. Well, kind of. With all this rain I wanted to spend some time expanding on the special video that went out ten days ago on Friday. In that video, I expressed the need for patience throughout this rainy spell and to wait for ideal conditions before heading back into the fields.

I don’t think I can stress enough the fact that we need to be patient and let these fields dry off.  In most cases this will take up most of this week. For years, we put the emphasis on the importance of planting dates.  In some cases, this is at the expense of root development… which is definitely NOT a fair trade. The risk of wet planting has negative effects on root development and, ultimately, yield. Planting in a wet field causes sidewall compaction, and that affects the growth and development of the fibrous root system. When the early nodal root development is restricted, and corn seedlings are stunted they struggle through that, lowering our yield potential. This loss is caused by smaller plants with less photosynthetic capability and the fact that we have reduced the size and depth of the root mass. This inhibits the plants’ ability to take up nutrients and water. I would almost bet that you hear Keith Byerly talk about that in his articles, which focus on CVA’s AquaSystems and irrigation.

Being patient is a big deal right now. Sidewall compaction has the potential to reduce yield as much as thirty percent, so there is a potential of about $190.00 on the line for not being patient. Research has shown us here in Nebraska that we don’t even start seeing a loss in yield potential until after May 15th, and then it’s only one percent per day after that. So, we could wait most of May and not have the same potential loss as we would have by being even just hours too early.

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Today everyone talks about life hacks- little ways to work around everyday problems. If you are telling yourself, there are “wet planting hacks,” I’m going to tell you why I would stay away from them.

“I will just plant shallower than I have been.”

– Well if you want to trade one root development issue for two, that is your decision.

“I will just lighten up my downforce setting.”

– I have preached about improved downforce as much as anyone, but it IS NOT a miracle worker.

“Well it’s too wet to plant, so I will disk to dry it out.”

– If it is too wet to plant, it is too wet to be in the field. PERIOD.

Untitled-2We need to be patient in both planting and tilling until the soil is dry enough that you can ball it, but it crumbles instead of ribbons at the depth of 4 inches. The only viable solution is to be patient and wait this out.

Patience is not really a virtue that I possess, but I do know one thing if I ask for patience. I get the opportunity to be patient. The risk of getting back out a day too soon greatly outweighs the benefits. They say we have to hear something seven times before we actually hear it, go back and count how many times “patient” is in the article. Remember this: if you don’t have time to do it right the first time, you don’t have time to do it again.