Farm Horizons, Sept. 2005

Fall relief – or get ready for next year?

By Myron Oftedahl

I have heard several growers comment lately that they are glad that summer and spraying season is over. Now, we can rest!

It is important to take a break from the daily routine, but now is not the time to forget about the crop until you take the combine out of the shed.

Now is when you should really look at your fields and ask some tough questions. Was my weed control program good enough? Did it get done on time?

Did the hybrids that I picked (or got sold) perform as expected? How is the crop maturing?

Should I change any tillage practices? Or equipment? How is my fertility program working out?

Was there anything that I vowed I would do differently next year?

I would urge you to spend some time really looking at your fields, and give some thought to some of these questions and others that you may think of.

As you are combining, keep a notebook handy and jot things down about how this variety combined, did it stand well, weed concerns, drainage, or broken tile, etc. We think we will remember, but if you are like me, you have probably forgotten what it was by the time you dump the next hopper of grain.

Talk to your fertilizer dealer and schedule soil sampling that needs to be done this fall. If you are sampling, consider doing a double sample and test for Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN).

A lot of other things get blamed for the damage that SCN does, but if you aren’t happy with the soybean yields lately, SCN would be the first place that I would look. With resistant varieties and proper crop rotations, SCN can be managed.

Remember, you get one shot at your best yields each year, so spending some time now answering questions and writing a plan for next year can pay off big.

I hope that you have a safe and profitable harvest season.

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