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

    AgFax Grain Review: China Approves Syngenta Corn; Turkey Bans U.S. DDG Imports12-19

    Rose on Cotton: Consider Selling Remaining Spot Cotton12-19

    Livestock: USDA Drops Checkoff Plan Following Appropriations Bill12-19

    Georgia Farmer Sets New World-Record Corn Yield – DTN12-19

    Grain TV: Basis Levels Lower at Many Crushing Plants12-19

    DTN Livestock Close: Cattle Futures Rebound With Triple-Digit Gains12-19

    Doane Cotton Close: Another Choppy Week Ends Slightly Ahead12-19

    Arkansas: State Plant Board Approves Enlist Duo, Dicamba Weed Control Systems12-19

    Mississippi Crop Values to Top $7B for 3rd Straight Year12-19

    AFB Grain-Soybean Close: Wheat, Soybeans Drop, Corn Mixed12-19

    AFB Cotton Close: Mixed as Futures Continue to Consolidate12-19

    AFB Rice Close: Strong Gains to End the Week12-19

    Texas Pecans: Moderate Deliveries, Good Demand12-19

    Oklahoma Pecans: Moderate Early Deliveries Taper Off12-19

    Cleveland on Cotton: India Stirs the Bears; China Releases Reliable Stock Estimates12-19

    Western Region Pecans: Buying Interest Good, Moderate Deliveries12-19

    Georgia Pecans: Increased Deliveries, Smaller Lots12-19

    Alfalfa: Dupont Pioneer Sells Alfalfa Seed Biz To S&W12-19

    Texas Ag Benefits from Normalized U.S.-Cuba Relations, Says Expert12-19

    Brazil Livestock: Small Scale Ranchers Account for Most Deforestation – DTN12-19

    DTN Cotton Close: Narrowly Mixed on Light Volume12-19

    USDA: Peanut Price Highlights12-19

    AgFax Peanut Review: Spray Fungicides at Night; New Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice Cream12-19

    DTN Grain Close: Wheat Pulls Back As Ruble, Oil Rally12-19

    Mississippi Soybeans: Record Yield Valued at $1.17B12-19

    DTN Livestock Midday: Feeder Cattle Post Strong Gains12-19

    DTN Grain Midday: All 3 Markets Trading Lower12-19

    Weekly Cotton Market Review12-19

    Mississippi Outdoors: Feeding Wildlife in Winter Can Cause Problems12-19

    DTN Cotton Open: Ticks Quietly Just Below Unchanged12-19

    AgFax Wildlife Review: Oklahoma Man Faces Felonies Over Wild Hogs12-19

    DTN Livestock Open: Futures to Begin Solidly Higher12-19

    DTN Grain Open: Wheat Futures Plummet12-19

    Keith Good: New Cuba Policy Could Open Huge Market for U.S. Wheat12-19

    DTN Livestock Close: Cattle Futures Pull Out of Price Collapse12-18

    Nitrogen Fertilizer: Oversupply, Geopolitical Risk Overshadow Strong Global Demand – DTN12-18

    China Holds Grain Import Quotas Steady, Revises Application Process – DTN12-18

    Doane Cotton Close: Choppy Sideways Action Continues12-18

    Chumrau on Wheat: USDA Raises World Estimates, No Comment on Russian Rumors12-18

    Georgia: 2015 Ag Forecast Meetings in Mid-January12-18

    John Deere Sells Crop Insurance Arm To Farmers Mutual Hail12-18

    Japan Elections Won’t Soften Trade Issues — DTN12-18

    U.S. Grain Transportation: Rail Shipments Make Big Jump12-18

    DuPont Pioneer Rolls Out New Soybean And Corn Selections For 201512-18

    Updated ARC-CO and PLC Payment Indicator for 2014 Crop Year12-18

    Livestock: Sharp Cattle Declines as Inscrutable as the Grinch – DTN12-18

    U.S. Drought Outlook: Improvement Expected Across California12-18

    Ag Trade Should Benefit from Thaw in U.S.-Cuba Relations12-18

    U.S. Energy: Heating Oil Expenditures Expected to Drop This Winter12-18

    Gasoline Prices: Decline in All Regions12-18

    Propane Stocks: Decrease by 0.8M Barrels12-18

    Diesel Prices: Average Drops 12 Cents12-18

    Virginia Govt. Joins USDA, EPA in Fighting Nutrient Runoff – DTN12-17

    Louisiana Pecans: Deliveries Very Light, Few Improved Varieties12-17

    Tennessee: TAPA Winter Agronomic Workshop and Cotton Focus, Jackson, Feb. 11-1212-17

    Crop Insurance: Supplemental Coverage Option Unavailable When Choosing ARC Programs12-17

    Crop Insurance: Choosing Between Base Acre Allocation Alternatives12-17

    Senate Passes Tax Extenders Bill with Key Provisions for Ag — DTN12-17

    Brazil: Amazon Deforestation Issues Concern Ag Communities – DTN12-16

    DTN Fertilizer Outlook: Global Phosphorous Demand to Increase12-16

    USDA: Weekly National Peanut Prices12-16

    Buying Local Not Without Risks, Study Finds12-16

    U.S. Ag in Strong Position with High Avian Flu Risks Elsewhere in ’1512-16

    Grain Markets: 50-Day Moving Average Never Out of Style — DTN12-16

    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