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Source: Mycogen Seeds news release

Planting sets the stage for the entire season, so it's understandable why so much time and so many resources are spent planning for it. From maintenance of farm equipment to hybrid and variety placement, there are a multitude of tasks to checkoff before pulling into the field. To get off to a strong start and stay on track, Mycogen Seeds recommends a planting plan.

"There are years that planting starts smoothly and continues with relatively few hiccups. Other years, Murphy's Law goes into effect the minute the planter enters the field," says Melissa Bell, Mycogen Seeds commercial agronomist. "Luck may have something to do with the difference between a rocky start and smooth one, but good preparation never hurts your chances of hitting the ground running and keeping that momentum through the season."

According to the University of Wisconsin-Extension, several early season factors have a substantial impact on the success of the crop, including planting populations, uniform spacing and emergence, and hitting the right planting window. Combined, optimizing each of these factors could preserve up to 18 percent of yield potential. On a 220-bushel field, that's nearly 40 bushels per acre, or $150 per acre with corn priced at $3.80.

"As farmers, our lives heavily depend on genetics by environment by management interactions. Although we are unable to control the environment, putting our best foot forward in terms of management and selection of the best genetics can help us optimize yield potential," Bell says.

Bell offers a planting preparation checklist to work through this spring.

•Seedbed preparation: Set the stage for crop success with clean fields. Whether performing tillage or using a burndown application in no-till scenarios, ensure a preemergence herbicide with multiple modes of action is applied to minimize weed competition early in the season. According to University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 12-inch weeds can reduce corn yield by 22 percent.

•Precision systems: "Precision technology helps boost efficiency in real time and down the road," Bell says. "In addition, data collection in the field can be a powerful tool to help make decisions based on fact rather than emotion." Make sure you are familiar with navigating your display, and spend some time updating farm and field names to save frustration prior to the heat of planting. Check in with your local precision ag dealer to ensure subscriptions are up-to-date and schedule any necessary maintenance before the season starts.

•Planter calibration: Seed comes in a number of shapes and sizes. Adjust planters to accommodate your seed, and to ensure proper seed flow, use talc, graphite or a combination of the two. "Work with your local equipment dealer to ensure all systems and settings are working properly," Bell says. "The correct meter settings and planting speed are major factors in achieving good spacing and singulation."

•Planting depth and soil temperature: For uniform stand establishment, experts recommend planting corn 1.5 to 2 inches deep and into soil moisture. Consider soil types before you plant. Lighter soils tend to dry out quickly, so placing the seed deeper optimizes access to soil moisture. In heavier soils prone to crusting, plant shallower to allow the seedling to emerge quickly. "When it comes to temperature, rushing to the field to plant too soon can create stand establishment challenges," Bell says. "Wait for ground temperature to consistently reach above 50 F. Emergence could take more than three weeks when soil temperatures are 50 F to 55 F, but fewer than seven days when temperatures exceed 70 F."

Work with someone you trust
Successful planting takes a team. Work with your Mycogen sales professional, local agronomic expert and equipment adviser to ensure you've set your farm up for success - and a high-yielding crop.

"Planting only comes once a year," Bell says. "It's best to get it right. Take the time to develop a plan. Make stops during planting to dig up seeds to make sure you're achieving good singulation, spacing and depth. Rely on your team for guidance and input."

Find more tips for successful planting and early season scouting at or by reaching out to your local Mycogen Seeds team.

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