The 10-day weather forecast doesn’t look very promising for the start of planting here in Central Ohio. With that being said, maybe Mother Nature is buying us extra time to finish our spring preparations. We have compiled a planting checklist to help you with your last minute planting season preparations. Many of these you’ve probably already completed, but it never hurts to have a reminder when the weather grants you extra time.
- Finish any maintenance on power units and planters. Make sure that you have performed services on your tractor(s), checked tire pressures on your tractor(s), planter, seed tenders, trucks and anything else you might use this spring. Making sure you have readied your planter for the season ahead is also a key to success (here are some helpful tips for that: https://www.pioneer.com/home/site/us/agronomy/library/planter-tips-top-10/). Perform calibrations on spray applicators, fertilizer applicators, and those parts on the planter that need calibrated. Without proper calibrations, you risk major inefficiencies and over- or under-application.
- Plan/order your inputs. It’s better to start with a plan and change it as the season progresses than to start the season unplanned. You should have a general idea how much fertilizer, seed, and chemicals you will need to purchase this year. It’s also a good idea to know what seed you’re planting where. This not only helps with your in-season logistics, but also your financial planning. Having a “plan B” in place can also help when you run into issues during the planting and growing season. Ordering your inputs earlier can also help your bottom line.
- Have variable rate prescriptions ready. Whether you’re going to apply variable rate fertilizer or use variable rate seeding prescriptions, these are the tasks that typically get left undone if they are not done ahead of time. You should also be sure to test the prescriptions in your equipment before you get started planting to ensure that they load properly and you can address any issues that arise before the season begins.
- Take your inputs before you get started planting, if possible. If you can take your seed or fertilizer prior to planting or application, this will ensure that you won’t be waiting for delivery when you’re ready to roll and you won’t have to add one more thing to your already busy schedule.
- Prepare your precision ag equipment. It’s always smart to save and clear old data off your monitor. Save your data somewhere safe (an external hard drive, a cloud system, etc.) and clear up some memory space on your monitor or card. Doing this regularly helps you keep your data organized so that you can always look back and know exactly what your data means.
- Perform field maintenance. With the extra time that Mother Nature has granted us, it never hurts to have your fields prepared. Pick up rocks and tree limbs, fix old field driveways – then you won’t have to deal with these issues in-season or during harvest.