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Crop planning is key to learn from past mistakes or misses

Winter is a perfect time to look back at what you’ve learned, and crop planning is key.

The 2016 season has long passed and the busyness of life has taken a pause. Winter is a perfect time to look back at what you’ve learned from last year’s experiences, and apply that knowledge towards crop planning for 2017.

One of the most important ways to improve is to create a complete crop plan for how to implement those changes. Creating a detailed and comprehensive crop plan allows you to stay focused. Crop plans can allow your operation to improve on specific issues. It also allows you to try innovative concepts on your farm.

There is so much to think about. Read more

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Maps show average corn and soybean yields

Corn and soybean producers faced dry weather in some areas last summer and yields varied across the province, but where faced low yields, Production Insurance helped out. A couple of areas were affected more severely by the dry weather and experienced yields lower than the historical average. Other parts of the province saw the highest […]

Corn field photo

Why every bushel of corn matters for U.S. balance sheet

Source: Reuters – Karen Braun (Karen Braun is a Reuters market analyst. Views expressed are her own.)


The United States will certainly harvest a huge corn crop in 2016, so it hardly matters if yield falls by a couple of bushels, right? Actually, it does.

Without dissecting the balance sheet and crunching the numbers, it might be hard to understand why slight variations in yield make a big difference in domestic supply.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected that domestic farmers will harvest 15.15 billion bushels of corn over the next couple of months, which would easily set a new record for the world’s leading corn supplier.

USDA also penciled in 2.409 billion bushels of corn carryover at the end of the 2016/17 marketing year, which began on Sept. 1. This would be the largest such volume since the late 1980s. Read more

Estimating Corn Yield


Early corn yield estimations are a great way to get out into your field and start to predict the yield of different varieties given the growing season. It allows a grower to start making harvest decisions, marketing decisions, and to estimate needed storage capacity.

How many spots should I sample from?

Generally doing a kernel count every 10-15 acres is recommended. For soils that are extremely variable, doing a kernel count every 5-10 acres would be beneficial. Select random spots in the field when walking through as you are trying to get the best representation of the field.

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Estimating Soybean Yield

Calculating soybean yields can be difficult. Plant spacing, soil types, environmental factors, insect and disease stress can all affect the final yield. Pod numbers, seeds per pod, and seed size will all control yield.

When do I begin counting?

The earliest time to begin yield counts is around R5-R6 stage with the R6 stage being preferred (a pod on any of the top four nodes of main stem full of seed.). By R6, all flowering will stop, pods have developed, and seeds in the pods are mostly filled. The accuracy of counts will always increase the closer you are to harvest.

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Thompsons Automatic Soil Sampling

Micronutrients — more important than you think


Micronutrients are essential to plant growth and aid in achieving yields that growers need. Unlike a macronutrient such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, micronutrients are required by the plant in small amounts, but are equally as important for proper crop growth and yield. The micronutrients that are key to growth include Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Chloride, and Zinc.  Read more