By Jacob Rindels
“You better make hay while the sun shines” is an appropriate quotation to summarize the events of this spring. I came across this picture of a farmer planting in the Midwest last month while there is a tornado touching down within a couple miles. If this picture doesn’t sum up the scarce number of ideal planting days this spring, I don’t know what does. Although, as hard of a spring it was for farmers in our area, we are very fortunate compared to some other areas throughout the Midwest.
Moving forward in the growing season, there are some things to consider. I would encourage you to go out and evaluate the stand. Are there certain hybrids or varieties that are struggling to germinate compared to others? Is there leafing out underneath the soil due to marginal planting conditions? Is there any sidewall-compaction on farm you thought might have been too wet to plant? I would also examine how pre-merge herbicides are performing. Is it time to start considering putting a pre- on some of the corn ground that might not have it? Though the spring was tough, there is still opportunity to raise a good crop.
As weeds continue to get harder to control, we need to be proactive. With the pushed back soybean planting date, rows will take longer to close and for the crop to canopy. This means it will be essential to make sure that we have a residual chemical thrown in with a post-spray program. With above-average moisture totals already this year, other matters such as nitrogen management and fungicides should be on our mind. Heavy rains will increase the ability for nitrate to leach—checking plant health throughout the season for nutrient deficiencies is a must. Lastly, with the recent price rally, penciling in some fungicide applications gets easier. On beans, over the past few growing seasons, the co-op as a whole has seen a three-to-five bushel-per-acre increase with a fungicide application. In the past, growers have been more compliant with spraying a fungicide on beans than corn, but hopefully this year’s corn prices can help with that. If you are a grower that isn’t familiar with fungicides on corn, this is a good year to “get your feet wet”. Please look at the hybrids you planted this year and figure out which ones have a high response to fungicide—target those acres.
If you have any questions going forward in the growing season, don’t be afraid to reach out to myself or your AAC agronomist. Thank you for your business this spring and have a good summer!