Shifting Cropping Gears: Shortening Up or Changing Crops?May 29, 2017 | Category: Agronomy |
If you stayed the course and got your full season hybrids planted by May 25, congratulations! If you have a decent amount of your full season soybeans planted as well, nice! For the rest of us, we have some decisions to make.
In areas less than 2900 CHUs, it is prudent to plant at least some of your remaining corn acres to hybrids that are 100-150 CHUs less than your average farm rating. In warmer areas, full season or close to full season hybrids can still be planted until June 3-5.
In recent years we have pushed past June 5 with corn planting and had good success. In some of those years a relatively warm 90-day forecast spurred us on. The 2017 90-day forecast is looking like we should only expect average temperatures.
On the positive side, tough weather conditions in the US Corn Belt and some potential upside in prices might be the motivation to push forward on corn acres as close as you can to the intended plantings.
The other consideration is the impact that tipping your rotation towards more soybeans will have on lowering yields, reducing soil structure and increasing disease levels. If there are some corn acres that have to shift to soybeans, try to select fields coming out of wheat or that have better soil structure.
For your intended soybean acreage that still has to be planted, the message is to hold onto full season varieties well into June. It is critical to remember that a one-month delay in planting results in just a 9-day delay at maturity (OMAFRA Agronomy Guide). As you move into June soybean planting dates, growers should consider boosting seeding rates by 10% and if possible, planting in narrower rows (i.e. 7.5” instead of 15”). Both of the measures will improve canopy closure and increase pods per acre.
After June 20 you may have to make some variety switches, but up until then the most profitable option is to stay with your full season soybeans. The exception might be if you had already selected soybeans that were well beyond your full season potential.
The other hiccup in this plan is the desire for growers to plant winter wheat, especially in shorter season areas. In these cases, reducing soybean CHUs might give you a few more critical days to get wheat planted. The question to ask: is giving up 4 bushels of soybeans worth it to gain 7 bushels of wheat? The other option is to plan to seed your winter wheat into soybeans at leaf yellow and get your wheat crop established before the soybeans are harvested. This way you don’t have to surrender bean yield, you can evaluate your wheat stand in the fall or spring, and if it looks good you leave it; if not, you may have an opportunity to collect the crop insurance, can consider it an excellent cover crop, order some seed corn and drive on.
Rainy weather has made this a very challenging spring. At Maizex, we want to work with you to make the best decisions possible for your farming operation. If you have any questions or want to talk over the options, please do not hesitate to call your Maizex representative.
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