Your Harvest Checklist

We are headed right into one of the busiest times of the year. You have worked hard all season long to keep your plants healthy and happy for this final moment—harvest. It is the final bow for most of your crops (alfalfa and other perennials aside) and it is easy to draw the curtain closed on the 2017 season. However, we challenge you to think of harvest and post-harvest as the encore—with plenty of decisions, prepping, and planning to be done to ensure a successful 2018 season.
We have compiled a list of these tasks to be keeping in mind throughout the next few months:
 

Pre-Harvest

Ensure Your Combine is in Working Order

This seems like a pretty obvious task and 99.99% of farmers already do this. You tinker away at the combine in the winter and maybe a little in the summer—but have you worked with your monitors? Nearly every combine has a complex monitor that tracks yield. Ensuring that you are collecting accurate data while harvesting requires good set up and calibration practices. 

Like with all technology, just because it was working when you installed it doesn’t mean that it can be left alone forever. Check out this article by Michigan State University. They do a great job of explaining the process by which your monitor tracks yield, and provide links for even further reading. If you would like your monitor checked and calibrated, speak with one of our Precision Ag Specialists today!

Plan Your Harvest Schedule

After many years of farming, it is easy to get in the habit of harvesting your fields in a particular order. A common way of harvesting is “first one in, first one out”—meaning you start with the first field you planted. While this logic is fairly sound, there are some instances where you may need to switch things up a bit.
Harvest is typically determined by moisture, but moisture can greatly differ from field to field due to how well the plants were able to stand up to stresses. Biological and environmental stresses can have a major impact on the maturing and standability of your crop. It is important to scout your fields close to harvest and determine the moisture and strength of your plants. Plants that are weaker and were afflicted by disease and insect pressure most likely will need to be harvested first.

Fall Fertilizer Planning

The perfect time to plan your fall fertilizer application is BEFORE the crops come off. This allows adequate time for you to meet with your Agronomist and determine exactly what you need to apply after the crops come off. This can be accomplished by spring soil sampling and having your agronomist develop a plan from that.
If you did not spring soil sample, that’s okay! We would be happy to set up soil sampling for you after the crops come off. Just remember that this time of the year is especially busy for everyone, so spring may be a better sampling time for the future.

Post-Harvest

Fall Tillage

Once your crop is off, you can begin prepping the ground for winter/spring. There are many different options for fall tillage—especially depending on your fertilizer plan. Discuss your tillage plans while fertilizer planning with your agronomist. Together you can determine the best way to incorporate fertilizer that will meet conservation standards.

Evaluate 2017 Weed Performance

Weed pressure and challenges change from year to year. Now is a great time to determine how well your weed management program met your goals. Keeping track of the weed pressure, weed type, and the herbicide control you used can lead to successful management in the future. It will allow you to monitor how effective your management is from year to year, and will ensure you are properly rotating modes of action—necessary to combat herbicide resistance.

Secure Financing and Loans

Fall is the time of year for loans and financing through our Ag Quest financial services. Whether you are looking to insure buildings and equippment or are looking to expand your operation—our Ag Quest team is here to help. Visit our Finance and Insurance Page to learn more!

Contact your Centra Sota Agronomist with any questions, or to help with your Harvest Check List!

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