Not sure what the groundhog saw or did on Feb 2nd but the winter of 2016-2017, with 24 days remaining (as of 2/24), is shaping up to be the second warmest on record in the northeast and challenging for #1. Winter grains that haven’t already broken dormancy will be doing so shortly. Corn is being planted in the south and some brave souls in the Midwest have dusted off planters and are in the field.
Winter grains destined for forage will be looking for that spring wake-up application of Nitrogen (N) 60-100# per acre with a shot of Sulfur (S) and Potassium (K). It may also be beneficial thinking toward the follow-up crops for the 2017 growing season. Winter grains being grown for seed, straw, and grain can benefit from an N, Phosphorus (P), and K blend — determined by soil sample evaluation and yield goals/potential. This may be followed by additional N along with an herbicide treatment between the 2nd leaf stage and prior to a visible flag leaf.
May be a little early to evaluate Alfalfa stands for green up and winter problems, but with a quick walk you can observe if any heaving and ponding issues exist. Mixed hay legume and grass green up may be sooner than later with little ground frost this winter in many areas. Nutrient application is best at or just before green up, but likely not before 30-35 day prior to anticipated first cutting. Soil information and yield goals can help in deciding on proper N, P, K, S and Boron (B) nutrient supplementation.
Winter ends and spring arrives March 20th. Time to fine-tune (if not finalize) spring plans (seed downs, seed supply, forage, and grain needs for the upcoming year, equipment readiness, labor needs, tank needs, other input storage needs, and financial planning).
Spring is in the air – when, where, and how remains to be seen. But, as always, the window of opportunity is narrow and, ready or not, here it comes. So, best to be ready.