Saturday, March 23, 2013

Iowa: Planting in Dry Soil – Seed Depth and Planter Adjustments

AgFax.Com - Your Online Ag News Source


Several factors affect the choice of corn seeding depth. Although many areas have received late winter precipitation, dry soil is still a concern in areas where tillage allows significant surface drying or precipitation has not occurred. This article focuses on planter adjustment settings and considerations if seed is planted deeper than normal due to dry conditions in the upper two inches at the surface.

  • Most planter row units have the ability to adjust this difference to at least 3 or 4 inches. Simply adjusting this depth difference between gauge wheels and seed opener, however, will not automatically mean seed is placed at the adjustment depth. A certain amount of weight or down force is required to push the seed opener into the soil before the adjacent depth wheel comes into contact with the surface. The down force required increases with increasing penetration depth. This is similar to increased force required to drive a spade deeper into the soil.
  • It’s always a good idea to make sure depth-gauge wheels are in contact with the soil surface. This check is particularly necessary when planting at deeper than normal depths or if dry soil increases penetration resistance encountered by the seed opener. If gauge wheels are not on the soil surface, extra weight must be transferred to the row unit via the down force system on the parallel links attaching the row unit to the planter frame. In some cases, extra weight may be required on the planter toolbar frame to allow penetration of the seed opener. This last issue is more commonly encountered when a large number of row units are used on a given planter toolbar (e.g., narrow- or split-row planter use) or separate fertilizer injectors are used on the planter.
  • Rather than relying strictly on depth adjustment between the bottom of the seed opener and bottom of depth-gauge wheels an alternative approach to increasing planting seed depth to a zone of adequate moisture is to create a furrow ahead of the planter by setting row cleaner depth deeper than usual. This concept loosens soil for easier penetration of the seed opener. More aggressive or deeper depth settings may remove an inch or two of surface soil before insertion of the seed by the seed opener and depth-gauge wheels.
  • Creating a furrow with row cleaners may be the simplest method to insert seed deeper than ordinarily capable with the planter’s seed depth adjustment (typically 3 to 4 inches).  This approach has worked well for some operators in previous planting situations with dry surface soil. As mentioned in the article above on corn seeding depth, this approach also carries potential risks if rains occur during early germination and growth. Rainfall can puddle and seal tilled soils affecting the ability of corn to emerge. Even if corn has emerged, excessive water runoff erodes soil and can wash seed and plants from furrows if rows are sloping.
  • Contrary to planting in moist or wet soil, increasing down pressure somewhat on closing wheels can help seed-to-soil contact. Some extra down pressure on depth-gauge wheels slightly increases seed depth and increases emergence rate, bringing additional moisture into the seed zone by increasing capillary action on the soil water.

 

Summary

Many planters allow seed depth to be adjusted 3 to 4 inches. Actual depth should be checked however to ensure penetration of seed openers and accurate seed placement. Row cleaners may be used as an aid for deeper planting, but subsequent rainfall can create soil sealing or erosion. Greater down pressure than normal may aid seed-to-soil contact.

 

Mark Hanna is an extension agricultural engineer in agricultural and biosystems engineering with responsibilities in field machinery. Hanna can be reached at hmhanna@iastate.edu or (515) 294-0468.


Tags: , , ,


Leave a Reply

Name and Email Address are required fields. Your email will not be published or shared with third parties.

Sunbelt Ag News

    Harvest Approaches in Iowa; Time for More Planting in Florida — DTN9-18

    U.S. Energy: Shale-Focused Companies’ Financial Performance Improves9-18

    Gasoline Prices: Average Falls 5 Cents9-18

    Propane Stocks: Rise by 1.4M Barrels9-18

    Diesel Prices: Decrease by a Penny9-18

    DTN Livestock Open: Contracts Geared to Recoil9-18

    DTN Grain Open: Soybeans Start 1 Cent Higher9-18

    Keith Good: USDA Approves Use of Dow’s New GMO Corn, Soybeans9-18

    Soybeans, Corn in Midwest: Heavy Rain, Early Frost, Slow Going – AgFax9-17

    Farmers First Line of Defense in Keeping GMOs Out of Export Shipments – DTN9-17

    DTN Livestock Close: Cattle Bulls Stage Midweek Recovery9-17

    DTN Cotton Close: Ekes Out Marginal Dec. Gains9-17

    Ohio: 7 Counties Declared Natural Disaster Areas9-17

    DTN Grain Close: Mixed in Another Quiet Day9-17

    AgFax Peanut Review: Record Yields Expected for Virginia; Peanut Butter Salmonella Case Nears Close9-17

    42 California Counties Designated Natural Disaster Areas9-17

    DTN Livestock Midday: Cattle Contracts Holding Strong Gains9-17

    DTN Grain Midday: Corn and Beans Lower, Wheat Mixed9-17

    AgFax Grain Review: Agribusinesses Sue Syngenta; 3 SE Farmers Break Yield Barrier, Set 2 State Records9-17

    Hearing Reflects Highly Politicized Debate Over Biotech Crops — DTN9-17

    DTN Fertilizer Trends: Rabobank Forecasts Higher 3Q Retail Prices9-17

    Cotton in Southwest: Need More Heat; 4-Bale Dryland; Pigweed Plans – AgFax9-17

    DTN Cotton Open: Futures Inch Slightly Higher9-17

    China Agrees to Buy $2.3B Worth of U.S. Soybeans — DTN9-17

    Doane Cotton Close: Renewed Selling on Overhead Resistance9-16

    AFB Grain-Soybean Close: Wheat, Soybeans Slide, Corn Posts Modest Gains9-16

    AFB Cotton Close: Dec. Continues Lower9-16

    AFB Rice Close: Down in Narrow Trade9-16

    Missouri Farmer Uses Pig Manure for Natural Gas Production – DTN9-16

    Non-Land Production Costs Unlikely to See Much Decline in 20159-16

    USDA: Weekly National Peanut Prices9-16

    AgFax Cotton Review: Chinese Acreage Declines; Weather Damages Crops in India, Pakistan9-16

    Rice Outlook: U.S. Production Forecast Lowered to 218.3M Cwt9-16

    Georgia Soybeans: Grower Randy Dowdy Breaks The 100-Bushel Barrier9-16

    Insure Your Crop Revenue Guarantee — DTN9-16

    Feed Outlook: Record Corn Crop on Higher Yields9-15

    Corps of Engineers Vindicated in ’11 Missouri River Basin Flood — DTN9-15

    Cotton Outlook: U.S. Production Cut Nearly 1M Bales9-15

    Oil Crops Outlook: U.S. Soybean Yields To Raise Ending Stocks to 8-Year High9-15

    Wheat Outlook: Higher Imports, Decreased Exports9-15

    Good on Grain: Revisions to Corn, Soybean Acreage Estimates Possible9-15

    Choose Your Cover Crops Carefully — DTN9-15

    GMO Critics to Get Their Say at D.C. Hearings — DTN9-15

    Arkansas Forage and Grassland Council Conference Set Oct. 30 in Conway9-15

    Arkansas Winter Forages: What to Plant and How Much9-15

    Flint on Crops: Variety Trials are Worth Your Attention9-15

    Kansas Farmers Can Pursue Prizes for Soybean Yields, Values9-15

    Farmland Auction: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi Cropland – October 229-14

    Rice Crop: Harvest Zooms Along in Texas, Louisiana, Starts to Pick Up in the Delta9-12

    Rice Market: USDA Chops 11.5M CWT from Total Supply9-12

    Rose on Cotton: USDA Released a Bearish S&D Report9-12

    Environmental Groups Sue EPA Over Delay in Chlorpyrifos Ban – DTN9-12

    Cleveland on Cotton: Growers, Do Not Price Your Crop Right Now.9-12

    Welch on Wheat: U.S. and World Ending Stocks Increase9-12

    Welch on Grain: Increased Corn Production, Carryover9-12

    Railroad Criticism a Long-Standing Refrain Among Farmers9-12

    Texas Sorghum: Sugarcane Aphids Confirmed on Southern High Plains9-12

    USDA: Peanut Price Highlights9-12

    AgFax Rice Review: New Reservoir for Texas Growers; Continued Drought Problems in California9-12

    Peanut Harvest Gains Momentum In SE, Starts In Delta – AgFax9-12

    Small Farms and the Affordable Care Act9-12

    Georgia: Plains Peanut Festival, September 27, Celebrates Peanuts And Legacy9-12

    Mississippi Outdoors: Litter is Illegal, Unattractive and Even Harmful9-12

    Farming on the Mother Road: Farmers Becoming Sparse in California — DTN9-12

    Sunbelt Ag Events

     

    About Us

    AgFax.Com covers agricultural trends and production topics, with an emphasis on news about cotton, rice, peanuts, corn, soybeans, wheat and tree crops, including almonds, pecans, walnuts and pistachios.

      

    This site also serves as the on-line presence of electronic crop and pest reports published by AgFax Media LLC (formerly Looking South Communications).

        

    Click here to subscribe to our free reports.

      

    We provide early warnings and confirmations about pests, diseases and other factors that influence yield. Our goal is to quickly provide farmers and crop advisors with information needed to make better and more profitable decisions.

         

    Our free weekly crop and pest advisories include:

    • AgFax Midsouth Cotton, covering cotton production and news in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri.

    • AgFax Southeast Cotton, covering cotton production and news in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

    • AgFax Southwest Cotton (new for 2013!), covering cotton production and news in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico.

    • AgFax West (formerly MiteFax: SJV Cotton), covering California cotton, alfalfa, tomatoes and other non-permanent crops in California's Central Valley.

    • AgFax Rice covering rice production and news in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

    • AgFax Peanuts, covering peanut production in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

    • AgFax Southern Grain: covering soybeans, corn, milo and small grains in Southern states.

    • AgFax Almonds, covering almonds, pistachios, walnuts and other tree crops in California's Central Valley.

    • AgCom 101, providing guidance to ag professionals involved in social media.

    Our newsletters are sponsored by the following companies: FMC Corporation Chemtura Dow AgroSciences.

          

    Mission statement:

    Make it as easy as possible for our community of readers to find and/or receive needed information.

              

    Contact Information:

    AgFax Media. LLC

    142 Westlake Drive Brandon, MS 39047

    601-992-9488 Office 601-992-3503 Fax

    Owen Taylor Debra L. Ferguson Laurie Courtney

          

    Circulation Questions?

    Contact Laurie Courtney