JenREES 4/9/23

Each year is another opportunity to learn. The forecasted warmer temps for the coming week have many excited to be in the field. It feels so early for planting, yet I can appreciate the general warming trend for several days. My concern is when the low temps get back into the 30’s again. Seeking advice from multiple sources can be wise. It’s important to know your level of risk, crop insurance and replant options. It’s important to make wise decisions with the factors we can control during planting season as planting sets the stage for the rest of the year. So, some considerations:

1-Make sure your soil conditions are fit for planting. This can include the soil not being too wet to create sidewall compaction and getting the seed vee closed. I think the greater thing some will deal with is making sure there’s moisture where the seed is placed.

2-Along with the soil being fit is ensuring we’re getting the proper planting depth. With some moisture this winter, it appears we got more freeze/thaw action than last winter and the soil is more mellow. But that may not be true for all areas/fields. I recommend putting corn and soybeans in the ground at 2”. That may seem deep for beans but our UNL research found 1.75” seeding depth provided the highest yield for soybean. Proper seeding depth for corn is important for nodal root establishment. Proper seeding depth for soybean helps keep that seed in buffered soil moisture and temperature when planted early. It also aids that seedling from emerging too early. And, when planting, no matter what monitors say for seeding depth, I still recommend getting out and digging to make sure.

3-Another consideration is soil temp. Agronomically we’ve come a long way with genetics and seed treatments. Because of this, some don’t worry about soil temps. Yet every year I think most agronomists would say we can trace various problems back to a specific planting date(s) or planting window. So, I still feel they’re an important consideration.

I prefer removing one more stress off corn by putting it in the ground when soil temps will stay over 50F for 5-7 days, but realize that’s not always doable. And while we do share that early planting dates are the best way to increase soybean yield beyond genetics, our UNL and on-farm research for early vs. late planted soybeans was conducted with April planting dates of April 22 and later.

The consideration is for soil temps in the mid-40’s on a warming trend with no chance of a cold snap (cold rain/snow) within 8-24 hours for soybean and 48 hours for corn. The time-frame is due to the imbibition (critical water uptake) time-frame for corn and soybean. Soybean seed uptakes water more rapidly than corn and once the imbibition phase is complete, the soybean going through the osmotic phase can tolerate 35-40F soil temps as long as soil is not saturated. Soil temps for your field can be monitored by using a thermometer or checking out CropWatch soil temps at:

4-For corn seeding rates, it’s best to check with your local seed dealer as all our research shows that optimal corn population varies by hybrid. However for soybean, our recommendation after 16 years of on-farm research studies (2006-2022) in heavier textured soils and 30″ rows continues to be: plant 120,000 seeds/acre, aim for a final plant stand of 100,000 plants/acre and you’ll save money without reducing yields. If that’s too scary, try reducing your rate to 140,000 seeds/acre or try testing it for yourself via on-farm research!

One final thought, make sure you’re keeping yourself and those in your operation safe by wearing proper PPE when handling treated seed. Seed tag labels will list PPE required for the seed treatments in case you weren’t aware of this. Here’s wishing you all the best whenever the planting season begins for your farm!

Hope you had a Blessed Easter!

About jenreesources

I'm the Crops and Water Extension Educator for York and Seward counties in Nebraska with a focus in irrigated crop production and plant pathology.

Posted on April 9, 2023, in JenREES Columns and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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