Having a fully planned out crop plan on January 1 of the year may be a difficult thing for most producers to do, but it is important to plan early. Why you may ask? Planning ahead has always led to successful execution of a said plan when the time has arrived. We like to talk about crop plans early so that when the drills hit the field, we are not asking the question, so what are we doing on this field? Here are some helpful tips when making your crop plans for this upcoming 2013 crop year.
- Rotation. When making crop plans crop rotation can be one of the most important components to take into consideration. Not only is it for disease pressure, but includes chemical rotation as well. Certain weeds are starting to have chemical resistance issues so rotating chemicals can be as important if not more important than crop rotation. Disease pressure is another reason for rotating crops. Tight rotations of canola for example could lead to possible disease pressures under the right conditions.
- Straw residue. We like to mention this following a big production year because when there is excess straw and chaff residue our nitrogen requirements go up. We will require more N to help break down remaining residue, which is an important factor prior to seeding.
- Seed selection. We like to discuss seed selection in advance because good seed is important for establishing a healthy crop. Sending away seed samples for germ and vigor tests as well as a disease screen is also very important. We want to give our crop the best chance we can right at the start. Also, proper seed selection can be important if your area has disease challenges such as club root, black leg, stripe rust or powdery mildew, just to name a few.
- Seeding timing. Proper planting timing is very important for all crops. For producers that are planting multiple types of crops proper seeding timing is important to plan prior to hitting the field. Some crops should be planted early while others can wait till a bit later. A proper seeding plan will save time and help prepare you for potential weather events or delays.
- Budget. Planning a budget early is very important. With fluctuating markets for grains and fertilizer having a budget plan laid out can help make important seeding decisions. With a carefully planned budget it may make sense to change up certain seeding plans. A full budget would include the following costs: seed, seed treatment, fertilizer, herbicide, fungicide, insecticide, planting, chemical application, irrigation, harvest, custom work, taxes, rent lease or land payments, labor, fuel, equipment, and any other fixed or variable expenses. Knowing these and planning for these expenses ahead of time will prepare you for any surprises.
- Soil tests. Planning for fertilizer requirements is a very important factor in a crop plan. A properly taken soil test can be invaluable for making fertilizer recommendations. We encourage producers to take soil samples so we know what amounts of nutrients may be required. Remember it all starts at the roots.
By taking these points into consideration we can begin making our 2013 crop plans. We invite producers that are having a difficult time making crop plans to contact any member of the agronomy team at McRae holdings to assist them. A new year means new opportunities and all of us at McRae’s wish you all the best in the 2013 crop year. Happy farming.