As past experience has taught many of us that live in the "frozen tundra," a Wisconsin spring can appear rapidly, so here are a few thoughts to mull over before we all get busy and throw recommendations out the window to get those crops in the ground.

1. Planting date matters for northern soybean growers.

Dr. Specht et al. from UNL did a very good job discussing, "Why planting soybean early improves yield potential." Furthermore, our recent planting date data is also very supportive of early planting. Not only have we seen a synergistic yield response with today's genetics to early planting, we also average ~0.36 bushels per day cost to delaying planting past the first week of May (see Figure 1 below).

Figure 2. Soybean yield response to planting date at Arlington and Hancock WI 2012-13.
Figure 1. Soybean yield response to planting date at Arlington and Hancock WI 2012-13.

2. Use a fungicide and insecticide seed treatment. 

Given today's seed input costs and commodity price our data suggests reduced economic risk and increased profitability utilizing these inputs.

3. Plant your soybean seed 1 inch deep.

I know, Michigan State University just came out with new information regarding soybean planting depth, but I'm not completely sold on planting early soybean at 1¾ inches in Wisconsin. If it is June 5, soil temperatures are 72 F and I'm planting to moisture due to drought conditions and no rain in the forecast, then maybe I could be convinced.

4. Invest in a residual herbicide program.

Not only is it an effective tool for herbicide resistance management, it also widens the application window for glyphosate and often provides growers with a positive ROI.