Spring 2018 – Planting Tips
We are all aware that April has been far below normal on temperatures, thus directly affecting soil temperatures many use as metric for when to plant. In many Midwestern states, soil at a depth of 4 inches was the coldest it has been in the last 15 years for the month of April.
Pre-plant tillage is extremely important when growing organic (unless you are no-till). Ideally, you will want to work the intended fields 10 days prior to planting to achieve a good mechanical kill on all weeds. AgriSecure also strongly recommends an additional pre-plant tillage pass within 24 hours — if not 3 to 5 hours right before — planting to start the crop year with a perfectly clean field.
Planting Tips: The goal is to plant crops and get them out the ground as fast as possible because the best weed management tool is shade. Ideally, you will be able to row the crop within 7 days after planting as it provides a tremendous jump on weed control. Additionally, most organic seed is not treated. Planting in warmer temperatures provides a significant benefit with germination and vigor
As such, AgriSecure strongly recommends targeting ground temperatures above 50 degrees at a depth of 4 inches for a period of 4 days before planting our organic corn or beans. Small grain recommendations vary, so contact your AgriSecure Account Manager for guidance.
In terms of seeding rates, AgriSecure recommends increasing planting population by a minimum of 10%-15%, which helps increase shade more rapidly, ensures an adequate stand, and maintains yield throughout the year. Remember we will be doing numerous in-season tillage and cultivation passes to control weeds and will likely kill off a few plants throughout the crop year.
Merchandising Update – Opportunity Among Challenges
At AgriSecure, we are firm believers that in challenging moments there is opportunity. Currently in the conventional commodity space, margins are tight and have been for a few years. We believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel for overall farm profitability by converting to organic farming practices. AgriSecure is dedicated to supporting growers through the process of converting their farms, or a portion of their acres, to organic and taking organic field production to the next level.
U.S. Retail Organic Food Market retail sales have increased 369% from $17.0 billion in 2006 to $49.0 billion in 2016 and are forecasted to reach $80.2 billion by 2025. Rapid growth has supported attractive price premiums for organic crops with premiums ranging from approximately 30%+ on alfalfa to over 150% for feed grade yellow corn. In addition, food grade crops currently demand even higher premiums. However, only 1.2% of the 914.5 million U.S. acres in production are taking advantage of this opportunity.
For example, AgriSecure is currently seeing bids for organic feed grade yellow corn in the range of $8.00-$9.25 bpa for 2018 new crop / fall pickup, and organic feed grade soybeans in the range of $17-$18.50 bpa for 2018 new crop / fall pickup.
AgriSecure is working with many external partners to continuously generate more outlets for our growers. Through our newsletter and Account Managers we will continuously keep our Clients informed of additional marketing opportunities.