Soybean School: Planting delays put the squeeze on long-season varieties

As May 15 approaches and the rain continues to fall across Ontario, growers need to start thinking about whether they should be dialling back their chosen soybean maturity range.

Research shows growing a longer-season variety can put an additional four to five bushels in the bin if they’re planted by mid-May, says AGRIS Co-operative agronomist Dale Cowan. But once that May 15 date slips past and planters are still parked, growers should consider moving back to the adapted maturity range from their area.

On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Soybean School, Cowan notes that sticking too long with those longer-season varieties can cause late-season headaches when late-maturing beans put the squeeze on your winter wheat planting window.

Cowan notes that the unrelenting cool, wet conditions this spring mean crops have missed only minimal heat unit accumulation. If growers can resist the temptation to plant soybeans into unfit ground, they’ll also avoid the negative impacts of compaction, including restricted root systems that will struggle to gather the nutrients plants will need later in the season to produce top yields.

Waiting for better soil and environmental conditions also reduces the potential impact of soil-borne diseases such as phytophthora, rhizoctonia and fusarium root rot, as well as soybean cyst nematode and sudden death syndrome. Those cold, wet soils can also produce seed chill or imbibition injury when soil is less than 10 degrees C and that can lead to plant vigour, stand emergence and plant population issues.

At this point, Cowan is preaching patience. He says three sunny, warm, windy days can have a huge impact on planting. But the wait can be difficult.

Click here for more Soybean School episodes.

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