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The essentials about seeding!

Updated: May 10

Spring is a key period in agriculture, marking the beginning of the sowing season for essential crops such as corn , soybeans , and forage plants . These seedings are crucial as they lay the foundation for a successful harvest and directly influence future yields. In other words, this is the stage where you truly have control.

 

Agriculture involves a multitude of challenges. Each year is different, and the harvest is never guaranteed. That's why our expert believe that profit should not only be calculated at the end, but should be planned from the beginning.


Besides drainage, leveling, liming, crop rotations, soil fertility, and weather, how can we succeed in our sowing? Our expert Alexandre Couture offers his advice.


 





Alexandre Couture


To hope for an abundant harvest of grain corn, several factors must be considered by the producer. However, the most critical stage is without a doubt the planting. Of course, drainage, leveling, liming, crop rotations, soil fertility, and weather conditions also play a significant role in achieving optimal yield. But when the basic conditions are met, seeding becomes the time when the producer can truly influence their yield potential.


The ultimate goal every producer should have is to achieve uniform emergence. What does that mean? Fundamentally, during the emergence phase, it's desirable for all corn coleoptiles to surface within the same 24-hour window. Seedlings that appear one or two days later find themselves at a disadvantage, struggling to accelerate their growth to match their peers, which can adversely affect their root growth and overall yield potential. It is also crucial to maintain a constant distance between plants and avoid duplicates, which would compete for water and nutrients. So, how can we accomplish this objective?


Seedbed Preparation

Soil work should ensure good contact between the soil and the seed. Ideally, it should be worked twice as deep as the sowing depth, with finer particles around the seed and coarser particles on the surface to prevent a crust from forming after rain.


Soil Moisture

It is essential for moisture to be consistently present at the sowing depth for each corn kernel. For germination to begin, the corn seed needs to absorb 30 to 35% of its weight in water. It is crucial to place the seed in a moist environment to promote consistent germination and uniform emergence.


Planting Depth

Seeding depth must allow the grain to be in contact with the soil's moisture, and each seed must be at the same depth so that it takes the same amount of time for each coleoptile to reach the surface. The ideal depth for planting varies from 1 3/4 inches to 2 1/2 inches. If a seed is planted too shallowly, it can negatively affect the development of nodal roots. The optimal depth for planting will depend on the texture of the soil and the depth at which sufficient moisture is available for germination.


Seeding speed and seeding unit pressure will also influence depth. The seeding unit should always be pressed firmly against the soil. Too fast a speed or very coarse soil at the surface could cause the seeding unit to jump. It is better to slow down than to vary the seeding depth. Also check the wear of the furrow-opening discs, because if they are too worn, the depth will not be constant.


Spacing Between Seeds

The distance between each plant is crucial for optimal yield. Every seedling needs access to water and nutrients to fulfill its requirements. When two plants are positioned too closely, they will compete for water, light, and nutrients. This step requires a planter well adjusted according to the seed size and the type of planter you are using. Remember that the higher the sowing population, the slower the operating speed must be. The planter's speed is probably the most critical factor at this time.


Seed Protection

A healthy seedling is one that emerges uniformly! Fungicidal seed treatments offer seedlings protection from root fungal diseases like pythium and fusarium for several weeks. Additionally, insecticidal seed treatments will be necessary if conditions are conducive to attacks by seed flies or wireworms. Aks your agronomist to give you advice you on this subject.


Fertilization at seeding

For uniform and fast emergence, the corn seedling must have access to available phosphorus to ensure good root development after germination. Phosphorus should be placed in a band 2 inches to the side and 2 inches below the seed for granular fertilizer planters, while for liquid fertilizer planters, there are two options: a pop-up starter type placed directly in the furrow with the seeds or placed 2 inches next to the seed, combined with a source of liquid nitrogen. It is crucial that the phosphorus is close to the seed and available to it.


By paying attention to each of these factors, you can aim for more uniform emergence of your corn and thus optimize your yields.

 

Happy planting!

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