7.) Keep sod waterways: Examine the sod fields and identify low areas where water flows. Many producers spend a lot of money establishing sod waterways. Here is one opportunity to leave them established before you start row-cropping.

8.) Try to stay no-tillage if possible: You will get the most benefit from available nitrogen this way. Water-holding capacity is maximized with no-tillage. Erosion is minimized in no-tillage.

9.) Test for compaction: Many hay and pasture fields have some surface compaction. The next time the fields are saturated with water, walk them with a penetrometer to test for compaction. (Most county Extension offices have a penetrometer.) If that compaction is 3 to 4 inches deep, then you may need to do some surface tillage to break up the compaction. A field cultivator or chisel plow is the preferred tillage tool, if tillage is necessary. If the compaction is an inch or less, most no-till planters with sufficient weight can break through that compaction.

10.) Plant a slightly higher seeding rate: Planting into sod, means planting into grubs, wireworms, voles, field mice and other critters. Expect a little more seedling loss and increase the seeding rate by about 2,000 more seeds per acre to compensate. The seeding rate will range from about 32,000 seeds per acre on highly productive fields to about 24,000 seeds per acre on less productive fields.

11.) Place seeds about 1.5 to 1.75 inches deep: The No. 1 failure we have observed in sod-to-corn situations is shallow seeding depth. In those cases, corn seedlings were more likely to show potassium deficiency, lodge over or have stunted growth. Get the seeding depth correct. You will pay for it greatly if you do not.