Slow planting puts the brakes on Indiana soybean crop

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Big yields ahead for Hoosier soybean growers

HAUBSTADT, Ind. — A very late planting season in parts of Indiana has put the brakes on the crop and could mean a delayed harvest season.

“Soybean harvest has been kind of slow to get going,” said Matt Parmer, DEKALB Asgrow technical agronomist for southwest Indiana. “Very few soybean fields had the opportunity to be planted in April and May this year. The very few April planted Asgrow AG36X6 products that did get planted were outstanding with yields nearing or toping triple digits.”

Parmer pointed to an extended planting season that reached into what normally would be prime time for soybean growth and reproduction.

“With all of the delays, once we got some windows in May, we were busy trying to get corn in, so a lot of the soybeans didn’t go in until June. We had a lot of them get planted in July and even had some that went in at the end of July and the first part of August,” Parmer said.

That pushed the growth process back, and Parmer said the question is whether the soybean crop in his area can finish out with lack of moisture.

“Normally I say it’s August rains that make or break a soybean crop, but with the real delay in soybean planting, we were needing a lot of September rains, which we did not get. That is certainly going to hurt the yield potential of some of these later-planted soybeans. September was by far our driest and hottest month of the year,” he said.

With all of the anomalies and one-off events during the 2019 planting year, Parmer said one thing he’s been talking about with growers is being selective when it comes to using data from 2019 to make cropping decisions for 2020.

“I would really, really be selective about what data you use to make some decisions about 2020. It’s going to be real important, when it comes to evaluating data, to remember that sometimes no data is better than bad data,” he said.

Part of that is due to the wide swings in variability in yields due to weather conditions throughout the growing season this year.

“We are seeing more variability than I’ve ever seen. We are seeing some levels that are higher than we’ve ever seen, and we’re seeing lows that equal or are worse than the drought of 2012 due to water damage and fertility and nitrogen loss,” Parmer said.

Looking Ahead

One thing that Parmer does want growers to consider is their weed control programs going forward into the fall and into the 2020 growing season.

“This was a year that waterhemp was rampant across the Midwest. A lot of those rains kept farmers from executing their weed control plans and so we saw a lot of waterhemp get big fast. In our world, it is public enemy No. 1,” he said. “Weeds rob nutrients, water, sunlight and most importantly yield potential. Unmanaged weeds also go to seed creating issues for future crops. The flexibility and effectiveness of the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System was essential to protecting yield, clean fields and waterhemp control in 2019.”

Parmer listed a few tips for growers to consider when they are considering their seed choices for 2020.

“When it comes to weed control and picking that trait, I think some of the things they really need to think about: What is the overall genetic yield potential and agronomics of the bean; what is the overall effectiveness of that particular herbicide system and they need to weigh that against the ease of application,” he said.

Parmer cautioned that the easiest system might not always be the best way to go.

“Sometimes we want to hit the easy button, but that’s not necessarily the best choice. Sometimes the easy button isn’t the most profitable one,” he said.

Getting a handle on weed control now can help growers going into the spring.

“We can definitely take some steps this fall to control some winter annuals, so if we can start clean going into the spring, it may give us some more flexibility then,” Parmer said.

This column was contributed by Indiana AgriNews for Asgrow.

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