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486 - Begin 2007 Crop Planning Now

Harvest of the 2006 crop is still 2-3 months away but management decisions made now can have great impact on 2007 crop yield, quality and profitability. Tillage, crop rotations, weed control, fertility management and field selection decisions made in August, September, and October lay the ground work for success in 2007. Carefully consider past beet crop history, successes and problems for each field, to maximize potential of every planted acre in 2007.

Field Selection Considerations 

  • Review pesticide use records for rotational restrictions that may exist
  • Know rented land history, insects, diseases, and herbicides
  • Review past disease history for variety selection for each field
  • Know fertility status – get a soil test
  • Drainage requirements to improve yield
  • Past weed species problems and severity of each weed
  • Consider herbicide carryover from the previous crop, especially if it stays dry
  • Previous crop rotation impact on 2007 yield especially disease concerns
  • Know soil types in each field and what effects will be
  • Estimate available stored soil water capacity for each field if 2006 remains dry
  • Review historical satellite imagery to:

    • Look for drainage problems
    • Develop soil sampling zones

Early Small Grain Harvest Impacts 

  • Allows time for more comprehensive surface drainage plan implementation
  • Tillage options

    • Consider ridge tilling to maximize 2007 stands especially in dry conditions (See Ridge Tilling fact sheet)
    • Apply fertilizer, complete fall tillage to maximize 2007 stands

  • Establish fall cover crops to minimize winter and spring erosion and 2007 stand loss
  • Early harvest allows time for installation of drain tile on very poorly drained fields

Fertility Strategies

  • Consider zone soil sampling to maximize 2007 yield and quality and reduce early yellowing – see chart 1.
  • Decide now to use 10-34-0 starter instead of broadcast P to maximize yield and reduce 2007 fertilizer cost – see Fact Sheet.
  • Fall Band apply needed N, P and K about 4-6 inches deep directly below placement of 2007 beet rows using RTK systems

    • Maximizes fertilizer use efficiency
    • No stand loss risk
    • Opportunity to reduce P rates by 1/3 or more
    • Minimize “sand syndrome” effects

Zone Fertility Management Pays: Chart 1 shows $24/acre increased revenue when zone soil sampling and variable rate fertilization are utilized for N management.

Crop Rotation Concerns

  • Will 2007 beets following soybeans yield well or have reduced yield due to less available water than following small grains from 2006
  • If dry conditions persist much of the 2006 summer consider following 2006 beet fields treated with soil applied Nortron only with soybeans
  • Make plans now to eliminate beets on headlands if desired
  • Evaluate yield history of possible land to rent – renting good or excellent land pays.
  • Consider not planting beets right next to shelterbelts. Yield reductions of 500 to 700 lbs. RSA can occur, Table 1.

Table 1. Effect of shelterbelts on root yields, net sucrose percentage, recoverable sugar production, and revenue. Combined data of 6 harvest sites, N. Cattanach NDSU and C. Mize, Iowa State University. 

Weed Control For 2007

  • Consider Fargo herbicide for fields in resistant Wild Oat areas. Fargo can be fall applied after October 15.
  • Band Nortron in late fall using RTK systems – plant directly over bands of fully activated Nortron next spring to:
    • Maximizes Nortron benefit and weed control
    • Use cover crops to stop soil erosion
    • Minimize spring tillage and speed up planting
    • 11 inch Nortron band highly encouraged for best results
    • More flexibility for post herbicide use

Fungicide and Plant Health Benefits

Time a Headline application 30-45 days before full harvest to increase yield and frost tolerance.

Dave Franzen, NDSU on Soil Testing Date: “If the summer had been blessed with more rainfall, I wouldn’t have second thoughts going into the field the first of August and beginning sampling. However, as dry as it’s been, I think that when it starts to rain there will be a flush of nitrate appearing and I would like to pick that up in the fall test. So I will be recommending waiting until good rains arrive, the soil moisture picks up, or the middle of September, whatever comes first.”