By Frank Flis
Soil preparations are under way. Nationally, corn planted acres are at running at a slower pace than that of 2016. No two seasons, at least in a row, are the same. Areas of the northeast remain dry (especially New Hampshire and Conn), while others are ahead of normal rainfall by as much as 5 inches. The Adirondacks and Green mountains are still sporting some snow and Lake Champlain exceeded flood stage this morning 4/19 at 9:00am to 100.16 ft (100 ft is flood stage).
Soil temperatures are still a little cool, although the 80 plus degrees on Easter Sunday finally woke drowsy alfalfa. Alfalfa in some areas experienced a tough winter with wet areas of fields showing damage and heaving. Care should be taken in those areas while harvesting—watch the mower height.
Seedbed preparation for forage crops should be smooth (helps at harvest), free of debris (stones, crop residue), and firm to provide both good soil to seed contact and also uniform seed depth. Most forage seed placement should be between ¼ – ¾ inches in depth. Seed on the surface may germinate if moisture and temperature are good and there is a lack of avian species in the area. Planting at a level deeper than ¾ of an inch may reduce emergence.
Fertility, as always, should begin with a soil test, ensuring soil pH has been adjusted and that other nutrients are adequate. Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), and nitrogen (N) supplementation at seeding will help with emergence and early growth. Nutrients should be placed in the seedbed top inch. Some drills are equipped with starter attachments that allow for positive placement of nutrients. When using a cover or nurse crop, additional N may be helpful depending on desired use for the cover crop.
Green up is progressing. Feeding for first is under way. Timing of N applications with potential rainfall and anticipated harvest schedule will determine the extent to use N stabilizers, which can be tailored to suit the crop needs and availability of the N. Speak with your Carovail representatives to adjust your N program as needed, using eNrich (and possibly eNcapture) or Agrotain. Remember — don’t forget the Sulfur (S). It is an important part in plant health and protein formation.
Last soil temperature check saw an increase from a week ago approaching 50 degrees up from 44-46 last week. Some gravel ground yesterday ( 4/18/2017 ) was 52. Corn planting potential looms close in the near future.
Remember, as spring work draws into long hours, stay Safe and Alert. There is always tomorrow.