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By David G. Hallauer

Meadowlark District Extension

"Guesstimating" doesn't cut it, right? Your decisions as agricultural producers have huge impacts on production--and your bottom line. So when you set out to make a decision, any help you can get can't hurt.

That's the emphasis behind the Decision Tools section at www.agmanager.info. Here, you'll find numerous spreadsheet tools designed to help you with the decisions you face on a daily basis. Want to determine how a change in tillage will affect your operation? There's a spreadsheet for that. Trying to figure out whether a fungicide will pay? One for that, too. Trying to evaluate row shutoff options on that new planter or boom shutoff on a sprayer? A tool to help you decide is available. They don't replace common sense and intuition, but they can help producers take some of the emotion of the decision away--helping you make a decision based on economics of production rather than simply on how you feel.

Check it out and see what you think at www.agmanager.info. On the left-hand page, choose Decision Tools.

Don't work soil too wet

We've been pretty fortunate with the last two snows to get wet snow that's soaking in well. That's wonderful--unless you didn't get your flower bed or garden area worked up last fall like you wanted to.

So here's your warning--don't work soil too wet. What's the big deal? Work wet and you'll destroy soil structure resulting in clods that may not break down all summer. That's not a very good planting environment.

To avoid working too wet, try a little test. Grab a handful of soil (from the depth you plant to work--deeper soils may contain more moisture than the surface) and squeeze. If water comes out, it's too wet. If you don't get water, push a finger into the soil you squeezed. It's dry enough if it crumbles. If your finger just leaves an indentation, wait a bit longer.

For those of you planting trees, work the soil as soon as it is dry enough, then protect that area from becoming too wet by covering with a tarp if rain is forecast near the planting date.

Date: 3/11/2013



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