Most crops are in the ground and a large portion of them are already out. Now, it’s time to assess how you did. Walk your fields and dig in a few places to check seeding depth. You cannot do much about poor seeding depths or seed/fertilizer separation problems now, but while things are still fresh in your mind, you may be able to remember why you had issues and make the necessary notes or changes so it does not happen again next year.
Seeding depth is the biggest issue I have seen this year again. Like most years seeding is started and sometimes even completed in cool wet soils. Under these conditions plants do not grow very quickly and they use more energy thus making seeding depth even more important. Planting depth should be determined by the length of the coleoptile.
Speed is another factor that contributes to poor emergence. If, for example, you were seeding too fast and there was some mixing of the seed row and banded row, germination could be effected because of the salt index in and near the seed. Speed can also bury seed under excess soil as it does not roll back over the shoe as it is designed to do. Exposed seed can also be a speed/ shoe design issue. Find an optional speed and stick to it despite the rain clouds over head.
Soil texture is another major reason for seed depth variations. When you move from one field to another soil texture likely also changes due to the soil characteristics. Your seeding equipment will likely sink deeper in a sandier soil than a clay soil so adjustments need to be made. Did you make them?
No matter how unlimited or limited our budget is after seeding we cannot change our seeding depth or speed. Do it right the first time. If you were too busy to check every field when you were seed now is the time to face the piper and check to see if you passed or failed.
Terry Bonertz, CCA