DECISION TIME:  The Importance of Making an Input Plan Early

GCC Employee Jacob Rios applies dry fertilizer to a field of alfalfa.  Photo by Trevor Hands.
2017 has been quite the year.  There were concerns about whether the 2017 wheat crop had used up all its lives after Winter Storm Ursa blew through - in the spring - creating a blizzard of which the area had not seen for that time of year for nearly 40 years.  Couple that with the wheat streak mosaic epidemic and the question was raised as to whether we'd even have a wheat crop to harvest.  Moving on to row crop planting season, conditions were so wet, it was questionable as to whether farmers crops would be able to get a stand - if they'd even be able to get the crop in at all. We then moved through wheat harvest and had another rainy spell which caused fall harvest to drag out into December as we still have some combines running in fields. 
GCC Agronomist Mark Vance cautions that even though the tendency this time of year for famers is to take a well deserved break - especially after this year - now is the time to be making decisions on inputs for 2018.  "Making a plan early - looking back on your notes, what worked, what didn't work, do I need to change some things - it's good to start that planning process even before we have new pricing."
Vance says with no new true modes of action on the horizon with the herbicide chemistry, getting a plan in place now will better prepare you once pricing does come out, and you're ready to pull the trigger on your pre-emergent plan.  
Vance also cautions against skimping on inputs when looking at your bottom line.  "To make a profit, we have to make bushels," Vance says.  "A lot of times when we start cutting ends up costing us in the end, either with yield loss or cannot control the weeds so we're coming back making multiple applications to try to rescue a crop."  
A little prep work now can make those decisions easier to make later.  "Having that...plan in just essential to make sure we are utilizing everything to its max potential," says Vance.  
If you should have any questions, give the co-op a call at 620-275-6161.