‘Have a Field Day’ with these Useful Crop Growing Tips
Monday, August 17, 2015
With the daily pressures of farming, each day brings countless decisions that must be made and activities that must occur in order to keep your growing season on track for maximum productivity. Despite those pressures, and perhaps even because of them, it is essential to actively take stock of what is working in your fields and what could be improved upon in the years to come. Active engagement and asking yourself the right questions will ensure that you are laying the foundation for future success and realizing the full yield potential of your crop.
Scout now to pick the right variety for the future season
You are the strongest advocate for your crop. Active and ongoing scouting of your field will help you stay on top of even the smallest change and inform any adjustments to your variety selection in order to establish the strongest defense for potential issues. Be sure to scout your entire field and not just the edges and record detailed field notes to get a better idea of what you need to better prepare for next year. There are varieties that meet a range of individual preferences, including location, soil type and weed management features as well as tolerance to diseases such as stem canker, frogeye and Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS). Coupling your seed selection with a robust seed treatment package helps optimize protection during the critical plant establishment growing phase, which leads to easier management of pests and diseases later in the season.
Understanding Weeds and Diseases
Each growing season brings the potential for an influx of new diseases and weed pressures, or perhaps the return of a familiar foe. Actively monitoring for invading agents is essential for your fields to thrive. Did you battle waterhemp, marestail or other tough weeds in your fields this year? Control those issues by managing small weeds as soon as you see them, before they get large and begin robbing your yield. If you had issues with weeds this year, post-harvest is the time to re-evaluate and make needed adjustments to your weed management system. Consider rotating your crops along with your integrated system to manage those tough weeds and prevent the spread of resistance. Choosing the right planting date, selecting the right variety, and utilizing 15-inch row spacing all create optimal conditions for soybeans to quickly cover the ground, which can also help control weeds.
The impact of SDS is a growing threat. With SDS, infection begins early in the growing season and you may not see symptoms until midseason. SDS has been on the rise, and in 2014 it was the second-leading cause of yield loss due to disease according to university research
. It is estimated that since 2009, SDS has contributed to an annual yield loss of more than $500 million and continues to expand across a multitude of state lines. If you have SDS one year it is going to be a problem in the future; unlike some diseases crop rotation does not help reduce the potential for SDS. Once SDS shows up in a field; it is there to stay. If Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) is also present, SDS impact on yield could be magnified. Planting varieties resistant to SDS and SCN, avoiding compaction, and maintaining scouting notes on which fields are affected can also help with planning for a higher yield next year.
Timing is Everything
Planting date is critical when it comes to realizing your crops’ full yield potential. According to research
, planting early increases the number of mainstream nodes per plant and the amount of sunlight captured, which often leads to more pods, but planting too early might mean your fields flood if you get heavy spring rains. Depending on weather patterns in your area and its impact on some diseases such as SDS, you might shift your plant date to when the soil is drier and warmer. While doing so might limit the impact of specific diseases, the potential yield loss from adjusting your planting date might outweigh the minimal gains.
Knowledge is Power: keeping a watchful eye on your fields throughout the season, knowing the facts about planting dates and understanding the tools available to help improve early-plant establishment will help you realize your crops’ full yield potential come next season.
Learn more about successful solutions that can help you achieve maximum protection and realize yield potential.