Post-Harvest Priorities

With harvest well underway, it’s time to start planning what to accomplish after harvest to prepare for the 2019 crop season. There are two things that producers can do immediately after harvest to get ready for spring—applying a residual herbicide and fertilizer.
Manage Weeds Now with Residual Herbicide
Agtegra offers programs for fall-applied residual herbicides to help farmers get a jump on early season weeds. Weeds such as kochia and marestail begin emerging as soon as the snow melts in the spring, and they can be too big and hard to control well before producers can get in the field with a sprayer.
That makes fall the perfect time to apply residual herbicide to manage early season weed pressure and allow crops to get established and put down a strong root system unimpeded by weeds.
Applying certain residual herbicides in the fall, like Valor Herbicide, allows farmers the flexibility to still change crop rotation if a full plan hasn’t been decided yet.
Fall burn down of this season’s weeds is another item to tackle post harvest. Winter annual mustards and other weeds that grow in the fall are currently in the rosette stage and fully growing, especially with all the recent moisture. These weeds are still active even after frost, depending on how hard the freeze was, so herbicide can kill those weeds now rather than letting them overwinter and take valuable nutrients from the soil that your crops can use next growing season.
Apply Fall Fertilizer to Prep for Spring
Fall is also a great time to consider applying crop nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Fall fertilizer can be no-till applied onto crop stubble with a floater or pull spreader, or incorporated with a double shot or striptill approach. If you’re not familiar with these systems it means placing your nutrient needs 4” to 6” into the soil profile using a shanked or disk opener in bands ranging from 7.5” to 30” spacing, depending on the application equipment. Applying in the fall would allow you to reduce the application workload in the spring and also shift your input costs to the current tax year, if you wish.
After harvest and before the ground is frozen is an ideal time to conduct soil testing to determine nutrient levels going into crop season 2019. Soil testing equipment can punch through a little bit of frost - but don’t wait too long to do so. Soil testing is especially important to be done in areas that were drier during the current crop year. Drier weather may have caused not all of the nutrients to be used, so there may be some remaining in the soil that can be used next year’s crop. It’s helpful to know your baseline for next year’s crop nutrition needs. Field mapping and other precision agriculture work can also be done during the fall.