During her presentations to farmers this winter, Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer is encouraged by their positivity heading into 2020. And she wants to help them harness the energy to put it toward moving on from 2019.
“We can’t let 2019’s problems linger,” she says.
Here are the top five top agronomic tips from Bauer:
1. Don’t get too far ahead of ourselves.
“There are a lot of guys who have cover crops on prevent plant acres, and it’s the first time they’ve had cover crops. So we have to make sure we’re killing that crop in a timely manner,” she says.
For farmers with ruts or compaction issues, seize the first opportunity you have to get in the field and address those issues with the proper tillage.
2. Remember the basics.
“We’ve got to do a good job planting corn and get every one of those plants to emerge and germinate at the same,” she says.
3. Apply the fundamentals of nitrogen.
Bauer encourages farmers to look at their nitrogen practices, and make sure they match the fundamentals of nitrogen management.
“We have got to get a good nitrogen program in place,” she says.
4. Embrace variable-rate.
“Every year, we are seeing more and more of our customers getting into variable rate—and not just with fertilizer and lime applications but with population in corn and soybeans,” she says. Bauer says the technology to make variable rate work has become much more available and easier to use.
5. Use a systems approach.
“More than anything, we need to use a systems approach,” she says. “If you do a really good job planting corn, but you’ve got soil density issues below, you aren’t going to get there.”
Bauer says to look at your entire operation—not just one aspect—to manage it from beginning to end.
“That’s where we can make the most impact with farmers today—it’s implementing the systems approach.”
Listen to more of Bauer's agronomic insights from this AgriTalk interview at the National Farm Machinery Show: