When to Plant

Larry VeithFrom the Seed Shed
Larry Veith, Seed Specialist (507) 923-5628


As we rapidly approach planting, the question arises as to how to make a profit when growing corn and soybeans in 2018 with the current prices of commodities. Regardless of your situation, management is still the key to higher yields.

According to Shawn Connelly, University of Wisconsin soybean specialist, “planting dates and foliar fungicide and/or insecticide were the most consistent factors associated with yield variation” in a recent US North Central regional study on soybean production. Planting dates exhibited a consistent association with yields, with diminishing yields as planting dates were delayed. In other words, “ planting date appears to play a major role in setting yield potential for a given field, as other factors cannot compensate for late planting “.

With earlier planting of soybeans in hopes of triggering higher yields, using a seed treatment certainly makes sense, especially if spring conditions are cool and wet and when planting occurs in late April and early May. Also, when using planting rates in the 140,000 range or less in efforts to save costs, achieving a satisfactory stand with better early season vigor are enhanced with a fungicide seed treatment. According to an 8 year Kansas State research study, a fungicide seed treatment will increase soybean yields on average 2.5 bushel per acre.

Bottom Line: Plant early and use a fungicide seed treatment for maximizing soybean yields!


As with soybeans, planting early can result in increased yields. Be prepared to take advantage of early favorable soil conditions.

When it comes to high-yielding corn environments, nitrogen gets well earned respect as the most critical element in a fertility program. But three key nutrients that are often under-recognized that could limit yields from an otherwise well-fertilized corn crop include sulfur, zinc, and phosphorus.According to Fred Below, University of Illinois Plant Physiologist,“ these (sulfur, zinc, and phosphorus)are the missing links for high-yield corn. Many farmers don’t fertilize for sulfur and zinc, and many people don’t realize the season-long importance of phosphorus.” Other approaches to be considered that can lead to higher yields include, but not limited to crop rotation, scouting your fields early and often for insects, weeds and nutrient deficiencies, and optimizing fertility and application timing, including micronutrients and fungicides.

Bottom Line: Plant early when conditions permit and soil is fit. Watch fertility, especially sulfur, zinc and phosphorus. Walk fields early and scout often for problems.

As always, please make sure that you take your time planning for a successful planting season. Call us for any last minute questions regarding agronomy or seed, and know we are here to make sure you have your best cropping season ever!

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