Early planted soybeans can pay. Just ask A.J. Woodyard, technical crop production specialist with BASF.
“Our best yields in 2016 trials were from a March 21 planting date,” Woodyard explains.
Woodyard even had the chance to experiment with planting soybeans in the winter this year. He initially thought the Feb. 19 planted seeds had no chance at being successful, but he was wrong.
“Amazingly, even after having two inches of snow on them and soil temperatures in the upper 20-degree range, they came up 50 days after we planted them.”
Those soybeans are being studied closely to understand how resilient soybeans can be. Experts are noticing success with seed treatments, strong varieties and proper drainage in the field.
“Beans just don’t like to have wet feet underneath them,” Woodyard added.
Most farmers have observed soybean management change drastically in the last several years and BASF believes we can get more yield out of the crop if we manage it properly. Woodyard was among the speakers at the recent Brandt Consolidated Agronomy Day at the Lexington research farm.
The BASF research site is located west of Champaign near Seymour and often gives tours to interested individuals. More information can be obtained at www.agproducts.basf.com.
Also at the Agronomy Day event, Brandt technical agronomist Kyle McLelland explained what can be done to push the envelope on the best acres. He said Brandt is conducting several trials which leads to a list of high-yield practices.
“Our March 22 corn looks fantastic,” McLelland said.
McLelland and other presenters reminded the crowd that the first drink of water a seed takes in the spring is critical, since a cold rain can ruin a stand. He suggests watching the weather forecast closely for a warming trend before putting the planter in the ground.
Much of the Brandt Lexington research farm uses conventional tillage methods while the company’s Pleasant Plains, Illinois location uses a large amount of strip tillage.
For high-yielding soybeans, Brandt recommends conventional tillage while fall seeded cereal rye used as a cover crop has shown promise over no cover crop in no-till situations. When it comes to corn, the company suggests waiting to plant into dry soils at or near 50 degrees and a warmer trend in the four to five day weather outlook.
In Central Illinois, corn planting in early April is generally more beneficial than planting late in the month. In fact, there can be a 10-15 bushel per acre yield difference.
Brandt also strongly recommends incorporating broadcast P and K into the soil. Even light tillage seems to help attach phosphorus to the soil. Using these practices may eliminate the possibility of being regulated like those in Ohio.
“That would be painful,” said McLelland.