2013 Prospective Plantings Report: Corn Acreage up Slightly from 2012, Soybean Acreage Down Slightly

Growers intend to plant 97.3 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2013, up slightly from last year and 6% higher than in 2011. Expected returns for corn are again historically high going into 2013. If realized, this will represent the highest planted acreage in the United States since 1936 when an estimated 102 million acres were planted. Record-high corn acreage is expected in Arizona, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota and Oregon. Conversely, most states in the Corn Belt, which experienced severe drought in 2012, expect slightly less planted acreage.

Soybean growers intend to plant an estimated 77.1 million acres in 2013, down slightly from last year but up 3% from 2011. Compared with last year, planted acreage intentions are down across all of the Great Plains, with the exception of North Dakota, as drought conditions have persisted in many of these areas. However, the net intended change from last year for the United States is only a loss of 72,000 acres as expected increases in planted area across most of the eastern Corn Belt and parts of the Southeast nearly balance out the declines in the Great Plains. If realized, the planted area in New York, North Dakota and Pennsylvania will be the largest on record.

(Source –http://cornandsoybeandigest.com/soybeans/2013-prospective-plantings-report-corn-acreage-slightly-2012-soybean-acreage-down-slightly)

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Equipment Considerations for No-till Soybean Seeding

No-till planters and drills must be able to cut and handle residue, penetrate the soil to the proper seeding depth, and establish good seed-to-soil contact. Many different  soil conditions can be present at the time of planting  in the Mid-Atlantic region. Moist soils covered with
residue, which may also be wet, can dominate during late fall and early spring and occasionally in the summer. Although this provides for an ideal seed germination environment, such conditions can make it difficult  to cut through residue. In contrast, hard and dry conditions may also prevail. This is especially common when no-tilling soybean into wheat stubble during the hot, dry months of June and July. Although cutting residue is easier during dry conditions, it is more difficult to penetrate the hard, dry soils. Proper timing, equipment selection and adjustments, and management can overcome these difficult issues.

Two of the keys for success with no-till equipment are proper handling of the previous crop residue and weed control. If these issues are not considered, then the ability of the planter or drill to perform its functions is greatly limited. The residue has to be uniformly spread
behind the combine if the opening devices are going to cut through the material and plant at a uniform depth. It is very difficult for the planter/drill to cut the residue if the combine has left a narrow swath of thick residue and chaff. Ensure that the combine is equipped with a straw chopper and chaff spreader to distribute residue and chaff over the entire cut area.

For example, if a 30-foot platform header is cutting high-yielding small grain and dumps the material into a 5-6 foot swath, then this swath contains 5 to 6 times more material than the other cut area. The residue may vary from less than 30% coverage to more than 1-inch thick and can affect planting depth. This mat of material is an ideal place for disease and pest problems to accumulate and increases problems relating to cutting residue and penetrating the soil. This mat can create a lot of variability that makes it difficult to adjust the planter/drill for proper operation and this limits successful emergence and early crop growth.

Experience has shown that the residue is best handled by the planter/drill when the residue remains attached to the soil and standing. When the residue is shredded and chopped, it has a tendency to mat and not dry out as quickly as standing residue. The loose residue may not flow through the planter/drill as well and has potential to plug the opening devices.

The other key is weed control. In double-cropped soybeans, one of the reasons to convert to narrow rows is that crop canopy closure, which shades the weeds and gives the soybean more of a competitive advantage is faster. Due to the closure time, 7.5-inch rows may have
an advantage over 15- or 30-inch rows. However, if the weeds have a head start, this advantage can be lost. If standing weeds exist, you are asking the planter/drill to cut and move this extra material through the system, plus the crop has lost valuable resources of nutrients and water.

Probably the primary difference between conventional planter/drill systems and those designed for conservation tillage systems is weight. Since the openers and soil engaging devices must penetrate much firmer soils and cut the residue, the conservation planter/drill systems are built heavier and have the ability to carry much more weight than conventional systems. For adequate coulter penetration, weight may have to be added to the carrier. Some planter/drills use a weight transfer linkage to transfer some of the tractor weight to the coulters to ensure penetration. Because coulters are usually mounted several feet in front of the seed opening/placement device (in the case of coulter caddies even further), many use wide-fluted coulters, a pivoting hitch or a steering mechanism to keep the seed openers tracking in the coulter slots… <more>

(Source– http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/442/442-456/442-456_pdf.pdf)

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