Wow! What a different spring this year is from spring 2012.
All of the barley and wheat has had a first application of nitrogen. The small grains look good with the exception of several wet spots originating from last fall, and they are starting to green up. The cover crop rye is also greening up, but growth is behind normal.
I have all my seed and herbicide on the farm and ready to go. The ground conditions are looking favorable for hauling manure, spraying ammonium sulfate and a burn-down when we get more growth.
I would expect to be planting three to four weeks later than last year given the current conditions.
Jim Hershey, Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance president, hails from Elizabethtown, Pa. He can be reached at 717-689-0235 for assistance with no-till questions.
New Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance board member Scott Reinhart offers the following update from Forest County:
The field conditions in our area are extremely wet to saturated. Most of the area north and west of Clearfield County just lost snow cover by April 2.
The areas to the south have been without snow cover for two to three weeks, and many have taken advantage by fertilizing the wheat.
Many folks are awaiting warm or windy conditions to help dry out the fields. They will also take advantage of low morning temperatures for spreading lime or fertilizer/manure on fields.
It seems as though we are going to have a later start than normal. Many producers are checking and tuning up their planters, drills and other pieces of equipment. The seed suppliers and fertilizer dealers are starting to deliver and ship their products.
Reinhart can be reached at 814-319-4329 for help.
Lucas Criswell farms in Lewisburg, Pa. He tells producers to ready their equipment for spring planting by following these simple steps:
Check your sprayer first for what is needed for wheat sidedress and burn-down application.
Check your drill for blade wear.
Planters — check blade wear and row cleaners.
Precision ag — get your tractor in the field to try out all of the auto steer and planter clutches as related to plant population. Do this before you go into the field to plant.
Scout your fields for washout areas and fix them. Pay special attention to lanes so you don’t create any erosion issues.
Check your cover crops to see what has survived the winter.
Call Criswell at 570-412-0706 for help with no-till concerns.
Byron Hawthorne of Tyrone, Pa., says that with corn planting just ahead, farmers need to consider when to kill cover crops. They need to determine if the soil moisture is too dry or too wet.
If it is too dry, farmers need to kill cover crops sooner rather than later.
If it is too wet, farmers may need to wait until the soil is drier or should even plant corn through the cover crop and then kill it later before it goes to seed.
Remember to recheck coulters, disc openers and seed closures, and make sure that seed has been placed just right. Remember to check field to field and day to day.
Hawthorne is available at 814-669-4634 to help farmers in his area with no-till questions.
Dean James of Danville, Pa., says that even though we are all very anxious to get going, last year spoiled us.
Patience is a virtue not only for us personally but also as farmers. Remember, don’t go into the fields before they are ready. This patience is something that will pay you all year.
If we go in too soon we will have reduced stands, reduced yield and reduced income, and that’s not what we want.
James can be reached at 570-274-2993.
Coming Field Day Events
No-Till Alliance board members continue to support and participate in various field day events and conservation district field days throughout the year.
Some of the major events on the schedule include:
June 27 — Farming for Success Field Day at Penn State Research Farm, Landisville, Pa.
July 16-18 — Three-day “traveling” field day events at board member farms in Willow Street, Lewisburg and Marienville with renowned speakers Dave Brandt and Jim Hoorman. Check Lancaster Farming for more details to come.
Aug. 13-15 — Ag Progress Days at Rock Springs. Look for the Alliance near the Crops, Soils & Conservation building.