What’s Happening In The Field?

Producers are gearing up for planting season and securing any last-minute seed, fertilizer, and plant protection products. Timing and success, however, is weather permitting.

Crop consultant Eric Birschbach joins us. He owns and operates Ag Site Crop Consulting in Dane County. He says you can’t predict exactly what’s coming your way this growing season. But we do know that we’re facing a drought right now. And that’s what’s going to be influencing your pre-planting decisions today. 

The U.S. Drought Monitor puts most of Wisconsin in a moderate to severe drought.

If we do get moisture this spring, conserve it. Cover crop management can conserve soil moisture. If there’s no rain in the forecast, terminate the cover crops early (before they’re six inches tall). You’ll also want to target getting the crop in the ground earlier than later while you still have soil moisture.

But you don’t want weeds to take up moisture either, so plan weed control earlier as well.

In dry years, nutrients tend to get tied up without the freeze/thaw cycle of frost. Always look at a current soil test and start your nutrient plan there. Birschbach says an investment in lime can make your nutrients more available.

Cover crops, nutrients, agricultural chemicals, and seed traits are all important elements to consider. He says when all these things are clicking, “it’s magic.”