Evaluating Your Crops After Tough Spring Weather

Scout your fields, manage weeds proactively and provide timely applications of nutrients if you want to reach or exceed your yield goals this year.

On our farm in northeast Nebraska, both corn and soybeans were planted in a timely manner — by May 10 — after a cold, dry and open winter and then a dry and cold spring.

Fortunately, the cold winter left the soil in ideal conditions for planting. But this was followed by a frost that took out some of the early-planted soybeans and dinged alfalfa, corn and pastures.

We know that damaged corn will come back because the growing point is below ground until the V6 leaf stage, but for soybeans the growing point is located at the top of the plant and, once damaged, the seedling is lost.

For most growers across the Corn Belt it’s been a tough spring, with delayed planting and slow crop development. Some areas have been cold and wet and other areas cold and dry. Some farmers had to replant and others are taking preventative planting.

Replant or late-plant decisions aren’t complex. Generally you should stick with the same corn hybrid until late May, or wait until June to switch to soybeans.

Buying a shorter-season corn hybrid comes with less yield potential and it may not even be adapted to your area.

As for soybeans, stick with the same maturity group regardless of planting date — unless you’re in the northern Corn Belt, where you should cut maturity by half a unit.

Once your crops emerge, remember to scout your fields and observe what’s happening. Here are some tips on what to look for:

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Davidson_daniel

Daniel Davidson

Veteran farm advisor and agronomist Daniel Davidson no-tills near Stanton, Nebraska, and works as a private consultant.

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