Update from the Kevin Trimble Farm in Indiana
Greetings once again from Crop Tour 2016. During the last week of July, I traveled to the Kevin Trimble farm in Amboy, Indiana, about an hour north of Indianapolis.
By Darren Goebel
While most of the Midwest had been getting plenty of rain, this pocket in north central, Indiana was super dry. In fact, Kevin told me that his farm had not received any appreciable amount of rain since the latter part of June.
As a result of the dry weather, the crop was showing signs of stress, highlighting some key differences in our plots.
This was the split between automatic hydraulic downforce (DeltaForce) on the (above: top image, left side) and 400# downforce (above: top image, right side). Notice that the corn on the right was showing more drought stress; lower leaves were brown and desiccated with overall lighter plant color. This was a result of heavy in-furrow packing that created compaction in the root zone. While you would not normally see this in a whole field, differences showed up very clearly in the plot. In a three-year study, growers that used DeltaForce averaged 11 bushels per acre higher yield. I suspect the yield difference will be much higher in this field, but we will have to wait until fall to know for sure.
Compaction problems quickly show up when moisture is limiting.
Kevin drove his backhoe along the end to demonstrate how automatic hydraulic downforce can adjust to differences in soil bulk density. The crop was suffering in the compaction zone (above: bottom image).
The depth of planting study was showing some interesting results. Many growers plant corn shallowly because they believe there is less risk in stand establishment. Unfortunately, shallow planting can cause as many problems as it solves. Most agronomists recommend a minimum of 1.5” planting depth with 2” preferred. Of course, soil type and moisture level should be taken into account. One great thing about White Planters is that depth control can be calibrated to ensure consistent planting depth across the entire width of the planter. In this case, the planter planted the corn consistently at 1” deep. Unfortunately, there wasn’t uniform enough moisture at 1” to get all of the seed up consistently.
This was the split between 1” planting depth on the right and 1.5” planting depth on the left ➊. The 1” planting depth was exhibiting runt plants as a result of delayed emergence due to dry soils at that depth after planting. These runt plants will not produce an ear. The 1.5” and deeper planting depths do not have any issues with runt plants. Stand establishment was similar at all planting depths (1.5″, 2.0″, 2.5″ and 3.0″) except 3.5” depth. The 3.5” planting depth was suffering about a 10% reduction in stand. We will take these plots to yield and share results in an upcoming report.
Stand uniformity in corn has been getting a lot of attention since the late 90s. Most farmers and agronomists know there are heavy yield penalties for skips and doubles, making planter performance absolutely critical. Complicating this further, seed companies can’t always guarantee requested seed sizes for that hot new hybrid, and refuge in the bag is a whole other story since seed from different lots must be blended in the same bag. The 9800VE Series incorporates meters that can accurately singulate and row units that can accurately plant any corn seed size.