Ready to replant? Agronomist outlines common mistakes to avoid

Planting crops at sunrise in a large field.

Spring planting is in high gear with this week’s crop progress report showing farmers are making great strides—but sometimes, it has to be done more than once. A research agronomist with Ag Spectrum shares some common planting mistakes to avoid.

“People get in too big of a hurry to replant, and before we make that decision, we need to check what our growing-degree days have been. If it’s been cool and damp, and we haven’t accumulated at least 115 or 120 growing-degree days, it may not have enough warm temperatures to get the plants to emerge,” explains Jim Smart, a research and training agronomist. “Now, if we’ve exceeded those numbers for growing-degree days, then we can look and see what is the issue and why they’re not coming up. And sometimes, different varieties are just a little bit slow coming up, or perhaps that cold germ’s a little weak, but they’re still coming. They just haven’t emerged yet. If we do have to replant, we hate to replant if you’re 25 or 30 days past the rest of the field, you’re quite a bit behind on your maturity if you wait that long,”

When it comes to replanting part of a field versus the whole thing, Smart says it can be confusing to only do part because it’s hard to tell where to stop and start again.

“I hate to just do one little corner or one spot because once the grower starts replanting, he almost doesn’t know where to stop and where to start again,” Smart says. “So usually, we need an area, and it might be 40 acres out of 160 or something, that’s okay to just replant that portion. When we start trying to scab in or just doing the end rows, generally it’s not very successful, and then we have plants that are way behind, so we’ll either have wet grain or will have with soybeans, sometimes the other soybeans are ready to start popping out while the replant isn’t even mature yet. It’s better to select a uniform area, whether it’s a square or rectangle, and just do a whole field or a big portion of it and mark it.”

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