December 11, 2008


US grain farmers urged to optimise old farmlands


Experts point out that planning should be done first to ascertain a good harvest before US farmers make the plunge to use retired farmland under the USDA's Conservation Program (CRP) to plant grain. 


With grain prices becoming profitable again many US farmers are using CRP land to grow grain crop.


However, University of Missouri Extension agronomy specialist Travis Harper said planning should start at least a year before the grain crop is to be planted to provide enough time for farmers to recognize and deal with potential issues that may affect grain crop production.


Harper said that to avoid erosion, farmers should consider using a no-till management system. If that is not possible, then it is important to leave waterways and field borders undisturbed.

In addition, he said that weeds may grow on a CRP plot if it is used to plant grains. On top of this, pests such as prairie voles may feed on newly planted seed or small seedlings that have germinated. To force such pests out of the field, farmers must remove cover and food before planting the first crop.
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