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Strategic Planning Helps Minimize the Uncertainty of #GROW22

How crop planning can minimize uncertainty and improve soil health and crop production

Uncertainties abound going forward for the planting season and almost certainly throughout this 2022 growing season. According to the USDA, university extension specialists, and other experts, this will probably continue into the 2023 crop year and maybe even beyond. Between the war in Ukraine, drought in South America, and the long-standing weather risks that farmers face each growing season, there’s no shortage of contributors to an already long list of stressors. Strategic short- and long-term crop planning can remove some of the anxiety of uncertainty going forward.

Sound input management demands knowledge

Global supply chain issues have headlined the news in 2022 and along with it the resulting glyphosate and glufosinate shortages. Other pesticides may be in short supply or even be unavailable for 2022. Therefore, fuel, labor, seed, pesticide availability, and the price of these inputs must be considered. Seek advice—get all the input possible from every source of expertise at your disposal. Bankers, other lending agencies, agronomists and crop consultants, commodity brokers, and university experts have a wealth of perspectives to draw from. Knowledge will be power going forward. (Check out our Q&As on glyphosate and glufosinate for additional insight.)

Mind your Ps and Ns: Soil Nutrient Management

When it comes to a proactive crop treatment plan, the first place to begin is to be confident in your fertilizer management practices and that starts with knowing the nutrient levels of your soil. If you don’t know what they are, do a soil test this spring.

Several kinds of soil sampling equipment are used in the Red River Valley. This Amity probe is mounted on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV).

Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you better manage input decisions for different crops once you have the results:

Nitrate (N)

With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be better equipped to decide whether to apply the remaining 25% or just 15%, for example.

Sidedressing 28-0-0 for sugarbeets.

Phosphorous (P)


Pesticide price and availability are also of major concern in some instances.

Fall preparation is the key to success

Harvest season may seem like a far way off, but having a plan for how you will harvest and prepare the soil for winter, can impact the choices you make this spring. All will contribute to better soil health for the next growing season.

Fall planning considerations include:

In addition, land rental agreements and marketing decisions with volatile markets must be considered. Many reputable marketing companies offer services that could prove invaluable.

Stress comes with the territory when farming. Don’t carry the burdens alone. SEEK HELP when life starts to feel overwhelming, before it impacts the farm and family. Here in the Red River Valley, there are a number of resources available including:

As well as national programs like:

Pastors and professionals stand ready to walk alongside everyone in the ag industry going forward likely for several tumultuous years.

Dr. Al Cattanach

Director of Agronomy

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