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Veteran Contributor

Ask the Expert - Harvest Data

With this year’s harvest complete, now is the time to start thinking about next year’s crop. With low commodity prices, it may also be a good time to start looking at new ways to lower input costs as well as boost yields. Could you apply less nitrogen if you applied it later in the growing season? Can a few simple adjustments on your planter lead to more even emergence and, therefore, better yields?
 
Now is the time to get those questions (and others you may have) answered. We are hosting several experts this week who can answer all of your questions about improving nutrient management, analyzing harvest data, and achieving uniform emergence. They can also recommend planting dates and populations.
 
Post your questions in this forum at any time. And be sure to join us for the live discussions next week when the experts will be in this forum answering all of the posted questions.
 

  • Uniform Emergence with Nick Vickers and Casey Dray from John Deere Seeding Group* - Wednesday, December 9, from 8 to 10 a.m.
  • Nutrient Management with Doug Felter, John Deere - Thursday, December 10, from 8 to 10 a.m.
  • Analyzing Harvest Data with Tyler Hogrefe, John Deere - Friday, December 11, from 8 to 10 a.m.

 
*The experts are from John Deere, but they'll answer questions about all types of equipment and cover agronomy topics, too.

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55 Replies
Senior Advisor

Re: Ask the Expert

In a time of tight money, how much is uniform emergence worth? What is the payback and what does it cost to achieve it? How does one improve uniformity of emergence with older equipment, if a new planter is not in the budget? Is emergence as uniform in no-till as it is in tilled ground? Does planting speed have very much to do with uniform emergence? How about down pressure? Is uniform depth or uniform spacing more important to uniform emergence? Is the key more about putting each seed precisely where you want it or is it more about getting it to pop out of the ground at the same time as it's comptetitive neighbors? Can I tell much about emergence form my monitor or do I need to get out on my knees and dig up kernels with a putty knife? How much does seed treatment, herbicide programs and planter-pass fertilization have to do with uniform emergence?
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Senior Advisor

Analyzing Harvest Data

What are the key aspects of gathering and analyzing harvest data at home, that is, without giving the data to some other organization? Assuming the data is obtained from calibrated equipment and is accurate, does one try to overlay various information layers and look for correlations? For example, does one lay a yield map on a topographical map, on soil types, on fertilizer application maps, on soil test maps, and so forth? Can one learn much from looking at each year or does one have to look at a field in a long term basis? How much good can a farmer do in trying to figure out which is the best hybrid? Most farmers don't know how to do a replicated study and they don't have time to mess with it, anyway. By the time a farmer gets some data over several years, the seed company drops that number. Does a farmer have to learn to be a seed corn geneticist to keep up with how to apply harvest data to next year's seed selection? What is the payoff model for analyzing harvest data, anyway? One pays for expensive monitors, takes time to calibrate, downloads data into a software program and manipulates is and what does one come up with that can tell us what to do differently next year? My perception is the only reason to gather and analyze harvest data is to apply the information learned to next year's operations.
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Veteran Contributor

Re: Ask the Expert

Jim, you have a lot of good questions about uniform emergence.Those questions will be answered tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. If you have any more questions or if other people do, please go ahead and post them now or join in tomorrow.

 

You also bring up an important point: any change you make or equipment you purchase should have a payback. Maybe that's higher yields or spending less on seed, but it's important to look at the ROI before you buy.

 

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Contributor

Re: Ask the Expert

Good morning from Moline and the John Deere LEAD event.  Leading Economic and Agronomic Decisions.  My name is Ryan Hough with John Deere and I'll be chatting about the foundations of achieving maxium yield potential from a planter perspective in four key areas: Correct Population, Seed Spacing, Even Emergence, and Planting Window.

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Contributor

Re: Ask the Expert

We will be live for the next two hours with our topic of uniform emergence, and related topics of spacing and seeding window.

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Contributor

Re: Ask the Expert

Let's take these questions one or two at a time, starting with.......In a time of tight money, how much is uniform emergence worth?  What is the payback and what does it cost to achieve it?

 

Based on a University of Minnesota study, uniform emergence can have a 5-9% impact on yield.  For example, with a 200bpa average on a given field, one could see a lost yield impact of up to 18 bushels, and at today's prices that is roughly $63 per acre. 

 

The cost to achieve uniform emergence is a complicated one, and it could be as fundamental as planting at the optimum time with moisture, temperature, and soil to seed contact.  This starts with proper tillage practices and developing an optimal seedbed with accurate seed placement at the bottom of the seed trench at the depth you desire.  Many technologies are in the market today that focus on these key areas, from very specific to complete solution.  The individual grower has many options. 

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Ask the Expert

I have a few questions on the cause of uneven emergence and the advantage of hydraulic down force systems:

 

  • What's the main cause of uneven emergence? Depth? Spacing? Seed to soil contact?
  • Can hydraulic down force systems provide more even emergence? What’s the payback for these systems? How much quicker is the payback when you have multiple fields with different soil types/conditions?
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Contributor

Re: Ask the Expert

Two more questions....."How does one improve uniformity of emergence with older equipment, if a new planter is not in the budget? Is emergence as uniform in no-till as it is in tilled ground?"

 

If uniform emergence has been a challenge for you, one can evaluate a few key areas.  Lets start from the front of the planter and work back.  First is row cleaners and ensuring the planter is clearing trash and dirt clods as it moves through the field.  Next is down force to ensure seeds are being placed at a consistent seed depth across your field.  Checking the seed depth by digging behind the planter is an important check that is too often over looked.  A consistent seed drop from the planter to ensure consistent seed to soil contact, and finally proper trench closing.

 

Each one of these aspects have many options within the marketplace and at varying levels of costs.  A grower needs to evaluate his own operation and balance the improvements he is hoping to achieve with the potential paybacks.  Another major impact is simply how one operates their equipment....matching the proper ground speed with the abilities of the planter can have huge impacts.  

 

No-till and tilled ground offers a big challenge in ensuring ground contact and row unit ride quality.   In traditional seed tube planters, the row unit ride quality is important to ensure the seed is smoothly transferred down the tube and to the bottom of the seed trench without bounce or roll.  Down force as mentioned above is required at different levels depending on the tillage practices to ensure the proper trench depth.  With Deere's new BrushBelt seed delivery system, 100% control of the seed from meter to bottom of the trench is ensured so ride quality is no longer the most critical factor.   

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Re: Ask the Expert

Depth, Spacing, and Seed to Soil contact can all three be major causes of uneven emergence.  And trying to achieve all three is really the critical balancing act.  To answer the question specifically, consistent and proper seed depth is often talked about as the most important factor for even emergence. 

 

Hydraulic down force systems can be a tool to enable even emergence, but are not always needed.  Planters, for years, have been achieving even emergence without them.  But with the challenge you list with different soil conditions, or even various tillage practices, and now today's varying planter speeds, having the ability to adjust the down pressure can greatly enable achieving even emergence.  The critical factor I go back to is ensuring a consistent seed trench, consistent seed placement in the bottom of that trench, and finally having good seed-to-soil contact.  With these various conditions, hydraulic down force does enable from-the-cab adjustments on a row-by-row basis to offset what ever changing conditions one might encounter.  One final thought on hydraulic down force is to ensure it is not over applied.  To much down force can cause unneeded compaction on the future root zone and lead to stunted root development.  As with all planters and features, proper settings are critical.