A Post-Planting Checklist To Keep No-Till Systems On Track

Scouting fields for planter performance, weed emergence and seedling nutrient deficiencies can help no-tillers improve their management decisions for sidedress applications and beyond.

Even if spring came late to your area, it’s important to take time after planting to review what went right and what could use some improvement.

When you’re done planting and crops are emerging, it’s a good time to scout fields and look for early-season pests like cutworms and wireworms, check planter and fertilizer-system performance and consider adjustments to weed-control plans.

You may also want to prepare for sidedressing by following techniques to make those applications more efficient.

Dig It Up 

After planting is done, look across all the rows of the planted strips to see if any row units didn’t perform as well as others. Check the planting depth of each row unit by digging up seedlings.

With some central-fill planters, planting depth can be affected by toolbar-balancing systems. Sometimes, rows on the ends of planters have inconsistent depth control and balancing systems need adjustment.

To detect this problem, you’ll need to scout different areas of the field to see how different soil textures, types and topographies may be affecting the planter.

Evaluate stand uniformity to make sure each seed meter delivered seed at the same rate. On our farm, we check the seeding depth first to make sure that didn’t contribute to an uneven stand.

If the seeding depth is consistent but stands are still uneven, you may have a metering problem.

A Good Start?

Observe seedling color and check roots for any potential starter injury in each row and on contours to make sure starter placement isn’t…

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Leverich jim

Jim Leverich

No-Till Farmer's Conservation Ag Operator Fellow for 2022, Jim Leverich is a no-till farmer near Sparta, Wis. His 1,000 acre-farm has been in his family since 1864 and no-tilled since 1984. An innovator and educator, Leverich has 35-plus years of no-till and on-farm research experience, and possesses a deep, practical understanding of what makes no-till work. For his contributions while at the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service, Leverich was named the No-Till Innovator of the Year (Research & Education category) in 2006. A talented presenter and writer, Leverich was a regular guest columnist for No-Till Farmer in 2011 when it earned the Gold Medal as the nation’s top newsletter from the American Society of Business Press Editors.

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