The Struggle With Getting Seed Environment Right
When the planter is finished with its pass, the seed should be in an environment where there is no evidence that the planter ever created a furrow, placed seed, and closed the furrow. This environment should have no air pockets and be mellow so that as the seed germinates it can emerge, while at the same time being firm enough to hold moisture. It's a delicate balance that needs to be achieved, and there is significant yield opportunity in getting it right.
Getting it right means that the variability in the field has been accounted and adjusted for and that germination of each seed has happened at the same time. Yield loss occurs when seeds germinate and emerge at inconsistent times.
Since getting the seed environment right is so important to the profitability of your farming operation, what is preventing us from getting it right? Most of the time it comes down to knowledge. When planting, do you know the answer to these questions:
- How much weight is on the closing wheels?
- Are your closing wheels maintaining ground contact without compacting?
- Is the soil placed optimally around each seed?
- Which is the best option for wheels, staggering, and spring pressure setting?
Digging a few seeds per field gives you some level of insight but it is a tiny percentage of the total seeds planted.