Barry Martin is a farmer from Hawkinsville, Ga. (USDA Hardiness Zone 8) in the upper Coastal Plains. He has been using conservation tillage since 1996 to grow 600 acres of row crops including corn, cotton, peanuts, soybeans and wheat. Here is the to-do list for the farm.
July through August
Scout summer crops for insects, diseases and weeds, and treat if needed. Monitor fields for nematodes. Use irrigation to finish out crops, meaning continue irrigation as needed until the crop is harvested. Once cash crops are harvested, use downtime to service and repair harvest and other equipment such as grain drills and broadcast spreaders used to plant cover crops. Purchase wheat cash crop seed and additional cover crop seed if needed. Harvest corn in August.
September through November
Harvest peanuts, cotton and soybeans. Take soil and nematode samples. If needed, apply dolomitic lime. Spread fertilizer for wheat and cover crop seed patches. Repair pivot tracks and areas where equipment bogged down during the growing season. Plant a rye cover crop and a rye seed patch during or soon after cash crop harvest. In November, plant winter wheat.
December through February
Scout the wheat crop, cover crop and seed patch for insect and weed problems, and treat if necessary. Monitor nitrogen and apply as needed. Service and repair equipment for spring planting. Purchase seed, chemicals and fertilizer for spring planting.
March through May
Terminate cover crops with glyphosate three to four weeks ahead of cash crop planting. Spread fertilizer once the cover crop is terminated. Plant corn in March, cotton in April and May, and peanuts in May. Use irrigation to activate herbicides and germinate seed. Scout the crops for insects, weeds and diseases, and treat if needed.
Plant soybeans in early June. Harvest the rye seed crop. Scout cash crops and treat as needed. Irrigate as needed.