May 22, 2022 5:19 am

The drought according to Monday’s newspaper

That time is the one that will define everything in the farming for dryland there are no doubts. Before planting, when we draw up the crop management strategy to be implemented, we generally have more uncertainties than certainties. So the idea or recommendation offered is always the same to face that first step and it is to have characterized the environment where it is going to be produced as much as possible.

Without doing great things today we can simply know how much water the profile has prior to planting, if there is a water table, how deep it is, if it is on a hill, half a hill or low, what type of soil and retention capacity possesses, level of stubble coverage, etc.

In the specific case of this coarse grain campaign, in many productive areas of the country it began with profiles quite devoid of moisture below 30 centimeters.

However, as small rains accompanied during planting and implantation, the crops began to grow well. These spring rains “loosened” some management decisions regarding the defensive strategy that a year forecast by all models as Niña required.

Today we find ourselves touring areas where the decision of the planting date, for example, will define whether or not corn will be harvested. The “Monday newspaper” this time came with a couple of pages from Sunday and were given, mainly, by the forecast and the ability to imagine what kind of response an environment that is as characterized as possible can give.

For the date on which the allocation of area per crop is decided, perhaps the long-term forecasts are not as concrete as at the time of planting and, in this way, the change of crop is no longer a decision tool in the lot, even less so when a large part of the inputs have also been purchased and long fallows have been completed.

But there are some rudder taps that can still be done in some cases. For example, if in September there is a productive environment with groundwater at 2.5 meters, a lot rotated 20 years ago, use class I, II or III, management attributions can be taken disrespecting the prognosis. However, if you are on a ground IV or VI that is bare and sloping, it is not a good idea to go out and “hit a plenum” to see if it rains in December.

Let us remember that the planting date is one of the few tools, in addition to the choice of the genotype cycle, that we have to try to overcome seasonal stress situations, mainly in their critical periods.

The delay in the planting date for corn is what allowed us to grow on those previously called marginal regions throughout the country. It is a strategy that, although it may have other types of drawbacks in some areas (delay and humidity at harvest, quality, etc.), it is also the strategy that helps us to better overcome the periods of greatest demand.

The rains were very uneven in almost all the regions, with which the heterogeneity of yields that is going to be heard in the harvest is going to be numerous in both early and late and second-class corn.

To highlight, already in some fields that only received 280 mm since June, planted in the first fortnight of September in very good plots (rotated with napa), in maize we were making estimates of more than 12,000 kilos per hectare. Meanwhile, a few kilometers away we covered corn planted on the same date on shifting and sloping lots that will not reach 4,000 kilos per hectare.

The author is coordinator of the Eastern Córdoba Territorial Innovation Platform, coordinator of the INTA Marcos Juárez Maize Network and head of AER Corral de Bustos

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