More Wet Weather Ahead

Source: Jim Noel

After the wet spring which was forecast, we expected a transition in early/mid-June from the spring pattern to summer pattern with a relaxation of rainfall for a brief period. This appears to be happening. However, it won’t last too long as we expect above normal rainfall to return for the second half of the month.

Over the last week, rainfall has been all over the place. Northern Ohio and far southern Ohio saw above normal rainfall above 1 inch. Central sections and far northwest Ohio saw below normal rainfall below an inch.

For the remainder of June, expect temperatures to be near normal. However, there will be a lot of swings in those temperatures. For the week of June 11-16, temperatures will be slightly below normal. For the week of June 17-23, temperatures will remain slightly below normal. For the last week in June temperatures will likely swing to above normal. With those average temperatures, expect below normal maximum temperatures the next two weeks with above normal minimum temperatures. For the last week of June, both maximum and minimum temperatures will be above normal but plenty of moisture will keep maximum temperatures generally at or below 90.

Rainfall for the week of June 11-16 will average 0.50 to 1.5 inches which are actually close to normal. For the rest of June rainfall will go above normal after this week. For the next 16 days, rainfall will average 2-5 inches which are above the normal of too far from 2 inches. However, confidence is low in rainfall after this week. Weather models are all over the place with the transition to summer. There is the risk of some heavy rain events in late June of 5+ inches. The greatest risk is in northern Ohio for these heavy rain events.

The outlook for June is near or slightly above normal temperatures and above normal rainfall and humidity.

The latest observed 7-day 4-km hi-resolution rainfall estimates can be found here: https://www.weather.gov/images/ohrfc/dynamic/latest7day.jpeg

The latest 16-day rainfall outlook can be found at https://www.weather.gov/images/ohrfc/dynamic/NAEFS16.apcp.mean.total.png

The latest NWS Ohio River Forecast Center river conditions can be found at  https://www.weather.gov/ohrfc/

 

Prevented Planting, 2019 Market Facilitation Program Payments, Disaster Assistance, and Price Dynamics

Source: Schnitkey, G., C. Zulauf, K. Swanson, R. Batts and J. Coppess, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois

We stand at a point of extreme price and policy uncertainty.  In the Midwest, corn planting is historically late and many acres are or soon will be eligible for prevented planting payments on corn crop insurance policies.  On many farms, corn prices have not increased enough to cause net returns from planting corn to exceed net returns from prevented planting.  However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and has currently indicated that payments will be tied to 2019 planted acres.  The 2019 MFP could provide incentives to plant crops and not take prevented planting payments.  Moreover, this program could bring a little used option into play this year:  take 35% of the corn prevented planting payment and plant soybeans after the late planting period for corn.   Adding confusion to this situation is a disaster assistance program working its way through Congress. We provide detail on the 2019 MFP program based upon what is known at this time, and the Congressional disaster assistance bill.  Then, we evaluate farmer options at this point.  Decisions are difficult.  Corn prices have not risen enough to justify planting corn on many farms.  Yet, corn prices could increase if a large number of prevent planting acres occur.

2019 Market Facilitation Program Payments

In a May 23rd press release, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) outlined the 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP). This program is projected to provide $14.5 billion in direct payments to farmers of specific commodities, $4.9 billion more than the $9.6 billion spent on the 2018 MFP (Schnepf, Monke, Stubbs, and Hopkinson). Important details of this program are:

  • Payments will be based on 2019 planted acres to MFP-covered crops. USDA has initially stated that payments will not be received on prevented planting acres but the final details have yet to be released. By itself, this provision provides incentives to plant crops and not take prevented planting payments.
  • MFP-covered crops in 2019 include corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa hay, barley, canola, crambe, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, mustard seed, dried beans, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, and upland cotton.
  • There will be a single payment rate for a county. That per acre payment rate will be based on total plantings of the MFP-covered crops on the individual farm. Acres planted to an individual crop will not matter other than its contribution to total planted MFP crops on the farm.  As an example, suppose that MFP rate for a county is $50 per acre. A farm with 60 acres in corn and 40 acres in soybeans will have 100 MFP acres and receive $5,000.  The farm will also receive $5,000 if 40 acres are corn and 60 acres are soybeans.
  • Payments acres in 2019 cannot exceed the payment acres on the farm for the 2018 MFP. This restriction is designed to prevent more acres moving into covered crops, particularly from grasslands or lands typically not farmed. It will most likely be made on a Farm Service Agency (FSA) farm basis. A farm that had 80 MFP-acres in 2018 cannot receive payments on more than 80 acres in 2019.  (see, Perdue Provides More Clarity on Tariff Aid).
  • Payments will be made in three tranches, the first in late July/early August after the July 15th planting reporting date with the Farm Service Agency (FSA), November, and early January.  Whether or not the November and early January payments are made will depend on USDA determination on the need for these payments.

Many important questions remain to be answered regarding 2019 MFP payments; the answers to these questions could affect 2019 planting decisions.   The most important question is:  What are the 2019 per acre payment rates?

Click Here To Read The Entire Article

More on Switching Corn Hybrid Maturities

Dr. Peter Thomison, OSU Extension

Corn GDD Tool to Identify “Safe” Hybrid Maturities for Late Planting.  Dr. Bob Nielsen at Purdue University has written an article describing a powerful decision aid, U2U Corn GDD Tool, which can be used to identify “safe” hybrid maturities for late planting. The GDD Tool is currently available for Ohio and it can estimate county-level GDD accumulations and corn development dates based on current and historical GDD data plus user-selected start dates, relative hybrid maturity ratings, GDDs to black layer, and freeze temperature threshold values. The article can be found here: (http://www.kingcorn.org/news/timeless/HybridMaturityDelayedPlant.html ).

Silage Corn.  Although corn for silage responds to timely planting, it is more tolerant of late planting than is corn planted for grain. Silage growers can generally continue to plant adapted hybrid maturities for silage purposes until late June because silage harvest typically occurs several weeks before physiological maturity. Penn State University researchers have reported yields of more than 20 tons/acre with mid-June plantings in some years. Their studies indicate that corn silage can produce reasonable forage yields in many areas, even when planted in late June. Penn State University studies have shown that energy levels are reduced in later-planted silage, presumably because of lower starch levels due to reduced grain fill.

“Ultra-early” Hybrids.  Results of past OSU research indicate that some 100-104 day hybrids are available with yields comparable to hybrids of commonly grown maturities in early and late planting environments. The 100-104 day hybrids showed greater yield potential than the hybrids with maturity ratings less than 100 days (ultra-early hybrids). Grain moisture of the early 100-104 day hybrids were 3 to 5% lower than commonly grown maturities. At test sites with the highest level of stalk lodging, most of these early hybrids showed levels of stalk lodging comparable to those of the commonly grown hybrid maturities. However, our knowledge of early hybrid performance across Ohio production environments is limited. Some shorter season hybrids may not be suitable in terms of their stress tolerance and disease resistance.

Table 1 provides a comparison of grain moisture content at harvest in hybrids ranging from 102 to 113 days relative maturity (days relative maturity) planted in late April/ early May and in early/mid June (unpublished OSU research, 2009-2010).

Table 1.  Effects of planting delays and hybrid maturities on corn grain moisture at harvest. * number in parentheses indicates number of studies

Hybrid Maturity (days)
Location/Year Planting Date 102 104 111 113
—–% harvest moisture—-
 

S. Charleston 2009 (3)*

 

Late April/Early May 13.9 14.9 16.6 18.9
Early/Mid June 16.4 17.3 22.3 28.4
 

S. Charleston 2010 (3)

 

Late April/Early May 10.9 11.7 13.0 13.0
Early/Mid June 14.8 16.3 21.9 23.4
 

Hoytville 2010 (1)

 

Late April/Early May 15.7 15.2 22.1 23.0
Early/Mid June 23.1 24.5 28.8 30.0

Delayed Soybean Planting – A Yield Perspective

Source:  Dr. Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension

Across the state, soybean planting is still on-hold due to continued wet weather. A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on recommendations for June-planted soybeans: https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2019-12/recommendations-late-planted-soybeans You can also find recommendations for late-planted soybeans in the Ohio Agronomy Guide available to download as a pdf here: https://stepupsoy.osu.edu/soybean-production/ohio-agronomy-guide-15th-edition (click on the picture of the guide to download).

I think June-planted soybeans still have a great deal of yield potential; however, it will depend on how the rest of the year turns out. (Will there be water limitations during pod-setting and seed fill? Will we have an early frost?)

 Figure 1. Effect of soybean planting date on soybean grain yield at the Western Agricultural Research Station (WARS) (Clark County) in 2013 and 2014 and the Northwest Agricultural Research Station (NWARS) (Wood County) in 2014.

In Clark County at the Western Agricultural Research Station (WARS), we have observed a 0.6 bu/acre/day reduction in soybean yield (see Figure 1). Soybeans planted on July 2, 2013 yielded close to 60 bu/acre and soybeans planted on July 1, 2014, yielded close to 50 bu/acre. Interestingly, in Wood County at the Northwest Agricultural Research Station (NWARS) in 2014, yield was just over 50 bu/acre regardless of planting date, which spanned from May 8 to June 18. I’ve summarized some of our other late-planted soybean yield data in the table below.

Planting date County Average yield

(bu/acre)

June 1, 2011 (performance trial) Preble County 64-71
June 1, 2016 (relative maturity trial) Clark County 60
June 3, 2011 (performance trial) Mercer County 57-66
June 4, 2011 (performance trial) Delaware County 43-56
June 4, 2017 (performance trial) Sandusky County 57-58
June 5, 2011 (performance trial) Erie County 59-65
June 6, 2017 (relative maturity trial) Wood County 50
June 6, 2011 (performance trial) Henry County 54-56
June 7, 2011 (performance trial) Fayette County 58-72
June 7, 2011 (performance trial) Mercer County 53-55
June 8, 2017 (relative maturity trial) Clark County 60-65
June 9, 2016 (relative maturity trial) Wayne County 68
June 9, 2017 (relative maturity trial) Wayne County 55
June 13, 2016 (relative maturity trial) Wood County 58-61
June 26, 2018 (double crop trial) Clark County 48
June 29, 2018 (double crop trial) Wayne County 41
June 29, 2017 (double crop trial) Clark County 39-47
July 11, 2016 (double crop trial) Clark County 43

 

 

 

Recommended adjuvants for delayed preemergence/early postemergence herbicide applications.

Source:  Penn State University

Table 2.2-10 (from The Penn State Agronomy Guide) 

See specific herbicide label(s) for additional information on application. This type of application generally is used when weather conditions preclude the use of a standard pre­emergence program. For most products, do not apply in liquid fertilizer if com has emerged. Poor control from residual herbicides may result if annual grasses such as foxtail and panicum have emerged at the time of application; tank-mix with product that controls emerged grasses. Delayed preemergence/early postemergence programs can work well with herbicide-resistant corn hybrids now available (e.g., Roundup Ready and Libertylink). When tank-mixing with other pesticides, follow the most restrictive product label.

Recommended Adjuvants When Preemergence Herbicides Are Used Early Postemergence

Trade Name Recommended If Corn Has Emerged and Weeds Are Present Optional
Acuron1,2 NIS (0.25% v/v) or AMS 8.5 lb/100 gal
Acuron1,2 COC3 (1% v/v) AMS 8.5 lb/100 gal
Acuron Flexi NIS (0.25% v/v) or
Acuron Flexi COC3 (1% v/v)
Anthem ATZ/Anthem Flex/Anthem Maxx NIS (0.25% v/v) or
Anthem ATZ/Anthem Flex/Anthem Maxx COC (1–2 pt/A) or
Anthem ATZ/Anthem Flex/Anthem Maxx MSO (1–2 pt/A)
Atrazine label only mentions COC
Balance Flexx label states “Do not use COC or MSO or fully loaded glyphosate formulation”
Bicep II Magnum label mentions only NIS when tank-mixed with specific herbicides
Corvus label states: “Do not use COC or MSO”
FulTime NXT, TopNotch1, or Keystone NXT1 not addressed on label
Guardsman Max/G-Max Lite NIS (1–2 pt) or UAN (1–2 gal/100 gal)
Guardsman Max/G-Max Lite COC4 (1 qt/A) AMS (8–17 lb/100 gal)
Halex GT NIS (1–2 qt/100 gal) AMS (8.75–17 lb/100 gal) (required)
Harness MAX1,5 NIS (1 qt/100 gal) or UAN (rate not specified)
Harness MAX1,5 COC (1 gal/100 gal) AMS (rate not specified)
Harness Xtra or Degree Xtra not addressed on label
Instigate NIS or COC UAN or AMS (required)
Instigate rates not specified rates not specified
Lexar EZ1,2 NIS (0.25% v/v) or UAN (2.5% v/v) or
Lexar EZ1,2 COC (1% v/v) AMS (8.5 lb/100 gal)
Lumax EZ1,2 NIS (0.25% v/v) or UAN (2.5% v/v) or
Lumax EZ1,2 COC (1% v/v) AMS (8.5 lb/100 gal)
Python WDG/Accolade NIS (1 qt/100 gal) or UAN (2.5 gal/100 gal)
Python WDG/Accolade COC (1 gal/100 gal) AMS (2–4 lb/A)
Resicore NIS (1 qt/100 gal) or AMS only allowed with glyphosate or glufosinate herbicides
Resicore COC3 (1 gal/100 gal)
Zemax1,2 NIS (1 qt/100 gal) or UAN (rate not specified)
Zemax1,2 COC3 (1gal/100 gal) AMS (rate not specified)

1. Do not use either NIS or COC if tank-mixed with Liberty (AMS is allowed).
2. Do not use either NIS or COC if tank-mixed with a fully-loaded glyphosate (AMS is allowed); if glyphosate label recommends an adjuvant, add NIS and AMS.
3. Label cautions about crop injury.
4. Use COC only with Guardsman Max alone or tank-mixed with atrazine.
5. Do not use either NIS or COC if tank-mixed with glyphosate (AMS is allowed).

 

Spray Additives When Tank-mixed with Liberty (LibertyLink corn [LL]) or Glyphosate (Roundup Ready corn [RR])

Trade Name Specific Adjuvant Comments
2,4-D n/a**
Accent Q n/a
Aim/Cadet n/a
Atrazine n/a
Basagran n/a
Basis Blend n/a
Callisto/Callisto Xtra LL: Do not use COC
RR: Add AMS; if glyphosate calls for an adjuvant, add NIS (do not use UAN, COC or MSO)
Capreno LL: Do not use MSO or COC; only add AMS at 8.5 lb/100 gal
RR: Use of glyphosate compatible high surfactant oil concentrate (HSOC) is recommended with fully loaded glyphosate and required with partially loaded glyphosate; AMS is required; do not use COC or MSO
Curtail n/a
DiFlexx/DiFlexx Duo LL: Do not use MSO or COC; only add AMS at 8.5 lb/100 gal
RR: Label allows for additional adjuvant if resistant weeds are present
Halex GT LL: Not allowed
Harmony SG LL: n/a
RR: Add AMS; if glyphosate calls for an adjuvant, add NIS (1–2 pt/100 gal) (do not use UAN, COC, or MSO)
Impact/Armezon n/a
Laudis LL: Do not use MSO or COC; only add AMS at 8.5 lb/100 gal
RR: Label recommends additional adjuvant if fully loaded glyphosate is used; label requires additional adjuvant if partially loaded glyphosate is used
Maestro/Moxy n/a
Marksman n/a
NorthStar n/a
Permit Plus n/a
Permit/Sandea n/a
Realm Q LL: n/a
RR: When tank-mixed with glyphosate, ensure total adjuvant load is equivalent to the label recommendation
Resolve Q When tank-mixed with glyphosate or glufosinate, ensure total adjuvant load is equivalent to the label recommendation
Resource n/a
Revulin Q LL: n/a
RR: When tank-mixed with glyphosate, ensure total adjuvant load is equivalent to the label recommendation
Status n/a
Steadfast Q n/a
Stinger n/a
Stout n/a
Yukon n/a

*See also Table 2.2-16.
**n/a = adjuvants for LibertyLink or glyphosate not addressed.

 

Maximum Corn & Weed Size For Delayed Herbicide Applications

Source: Penn State University

Table 2.2-10 (from The Penn State Agronomy Guide) Maximum corn size, weed sizes for delayed preemergence/early postemergence herbicide applications.

See specific herbicide label(s) for additional information on application. This type of application generally is used when weather conditions preclude the use of a standard pre­emergence program. For most products, do not apply in liquid fertilizer if com has emerged. Poor control from residual herbicides may result if annual grasses such as foxtail and panicum have emerged at the time of application; tank-mix with product that controls emerged grasses. Delayed preemergence/early postemergence programs can work well with herbicide-resistant corn hybrids now available (e.g., Roundup Ready and Libertylink). When tank-mixing with other pesticides, follow the most restrictive product label.

Maximum Corn and Weed Sizes

Trade Name Maximum Corn Size Maximum Weed Size
Acuron 12 inches 3-inch broadleaves; inconsistent on emerged grasses
Acuron Flexi 30 inches 3-inch broadleaves
Anthem Maxx, Anthem ATZ 4 collars (V4) 2-inch broadleaves, before grass emergence
Atrazine 12 inches 1.5 inches
Axiom before emergence before emergence
Balance Flexx 2-leaf (V2) 1 true leaf stage
Bicep II Magnum 4-leaf or 2 collars 1- to 2-leaf
Corvus 2-leaf (V2) <2 inches (in general)
Dual 5 inches 2-leaf
Dual II Magnum, Bicep II Magnum, Bicep Lite II Magnum, Cinch ATZ Lite 5 inches 2-leaf
Fierce before emergence 2-inch broadleaves; by tank-mix partner for grasses
Guardsman Max/G-Max Lite 12 inches 1.5 inches broadleaves; before grass emergence
Halex GT 30 inches 4 inches
Harness, Harness MAX, Harness Xtra1, or Degree Xtra 11 inches or by tank-mix partner before broadleaf emergence, 2-leaf grasses or by tank-mix partner
Instigate 2-leaf (V2) 3 inches
Lexar EZ 12 inches 3-inch broadleaves; before grass emergence
Lumax EZ 12 inches 3-inch broadleaves; inconsistent on emerged grasses
Outlook 12 inches before emergence or by tank-mix partner
Prequel before emergence before emergence
Princep before emergence before emergence
Prowl H2O 30 inches before weed emergence
Python WDG/Accolade 20 inches (V6) before weed emergence
Resicore 11 inches 3-inch broadleaves
Resolve 12 inches 2-inch grasses; 3-inch broadleaves (in general)
SureStart II/TripleFLEX II11 inches 11 inches limited activity on 1-inch broadleaves; before grass emergence
Surpass NXT, FulTime NXT, TopNotch, or Keystone NXT, Breakfree NXT ATZ2 11 inches or by tank-mix partner before emergence or by tank-mix partner
Verdict before emergence before emergence
Zemax 30 inches (8-leaf) 3-inch broadleaves; before grass emergence
Zidua early postemergence before emergence or by tank-mix partner

1May be tank-mixed with Accent, atrazine (Harness), Banvel or Clarity, Marksman, Permit, or Roundup (Roundup Ready corn).
2May be tank-mixed with a number of different products, including Accent Q, Banvel or Clarity, Prowl, etc. See an herbicide label for specific information.

Current Weed Issues II: Revised Herbicide Management Strategies for Late Planting

Source: Dr. Mark Loux, OSU Extension

We’re running about a month behind in many cases, and with respect to weeds we are a month later than normal in implementing herbicide programs.  The most important thing to know about this is that we are well into the period of summer annual weed emergence, most of which occurs between early May and the end of June, which overall shortens the period of weed control that we need and allows earlier application of POST herbicides.  There are some advantages to this – here’s what it means for those fields just planted or that will still be planted within the next couple weeks:

Because we are this late, the burndown has become a major part of what is usually our in-season herbicide program, and is taking care of a good portion of the summer annuals that residual and POST herbicides would usually control.  The big glaring issue at this time is nasty burndown situations, and we provided some suggestions for this in previous articles.  Lots of pretty yellow fields due to cressleaf groundsel.  Keep in mind that this and other winter annuals that have flowered are ending their life cycles, so they have died or started dieing on their own anyway.  Focus should be more on the large giant ragweed, lambsquarters, marestail, etc that are present.  We are also late enough that waterhemp is part of the burndown mix in come fields.  Don’t skimp.

Herbicide programs do not have to last as long in crops planted late.  When we plant in early May, we need an herbicide program that controls weeds from then until the end of June or so, which is in part why we use residual herbicides and frequently apply POST herbicides 5 to 6 weeks after planting.  Applying the POST too early in a crop planted in early May introduces the risk of poor control of weeds that emerge soon after that application, before the crop is developed enough to control them on its own.  This is much less of an issue with a late-planted crop.  Since summer annual weed emergence tapers off as we move through June, the POST herbicides can be applied much sooner after planting without sacrificing control.  Planting soybeans this late can therefore allow earlier POST applications when weeds are small – more like 3 weeks after planting.  This can help minimize carryover concerns with fomesafen, and also provide a wider window to look for the right conditions to apply dicamba (see below).

In studies of reduced-rate POST applications that we conducted a couple decades ago, planting soybeans in late May or early June allowed us to use earlier POST applications (e.g 21 days after planting) at lower rates and still maintain control.  There were just fewer weeds emerging after planting and the duration of weed emergence after planting was also shorter.  It was not possible to achieve this in early-planted soybeans – we needed either two applications at reduced rate or a later application at full rates for control.

One issue with later POST sprays is the potential for herbicide carryover from products such as mesotrione and fomesafen (Flexstar, etc), among others.  Fomesafen carryover has been rare in the state but risk increases with later applications, especially if rainfall subsequently becomes limiting.  Where glyphosate and fomesafen are being combined in a late POST application to control ragweeds, it may become necessary to replace the fomesafen with lactofen (Cobra/Phoenix) as applications move into July.  Our research indicates that the lactofen products are less effective than fomesafen in this mix by about 10 to 20%.

Another concern would be POST applications of dicamba on Xtend soybeans shifted later into the hotter weather that occurs as we move from June into July.  The consensus of the weed science community is that both of the approved dicamba formulations have potential to move via volatilization, and the risk of this would increase with increasing temperatures and increased frequency and duration of inversions.  The current long-range forecast also indicates a trend for hotter than normal temperatures as we move into mid-summer.  Current labels allow application through 45 days after planting or prior to the R1 stage, whichever occurs first.  For soybeans planted early, the 45-day limit is often the main determinant, but later planted soybeans progress through growth stages more rapidly so the R1 stage may be the more frequent limitation.  Movement of dicamba onto other types of soybeans later in summer also has increased potential to reduce yield, since long-term effects of exposure to dicamba are more severe when soybeans have flowered.  Bottom line here is that there is less weather and time suitable for dicamba application with late-season applications, and movement and injury that does occur can have more substantial impact.  Planting within the next couple weeks and looking for the right conditions to spray starting about June 21 would provide more flexibility with regard to weather and weed size than deciding to wait until about July 10 to spray when it’s hotter and weeds are already large.

Can residual herbicides be omitted in late-planted soybeans?  Maybe.  Reduced weed populations could make this more feasible, but we really hesitate to recommend it.  Omitting residuals is never the right thing to do in fields with a history of weed control problems or high weed populations, or those with waterhemp and Palmer amaranth.  One advantage of omitting residuals would less risk of antagonism with burndown herbicides in mixtures.  Applying certain soybean residuals in June can increase risk of carryover.  The effectiveness of current soybean herbicide-tolerance trait systems makes this more of a possibility, but lack of residuals generally increases risk of problems and selection for resistant weeds, and makes timing of POST herbicides more critical.  The latter point is important because with a compressed season, applicators can be required to cover a lot of acres within a short period of time.  Keeping residuals in the program allows for more flexibility overall.

In late-planted corn, residual herbicides may be effective enough to reduce need for POST herbicides.  Or the residuals could be applied early POST, after the rush to plant is over (keeping rotation guidelines in mind).  Some corn fields are already in this situation, planted without any herbicide applied yet.  The table below shows restrictions on POST use of residual corn herbicides (source – U of Illinois).  This information can also be found in the herbicide descriptions in the Weed Control Guide , and is also summarized in this PSU newsletter article and this table from the MSU weed control guide.  Reminder that use of 28% UAN as a spray carrier is prohibited for POST application of herbicides with the exception of Degree Xtra.

 

 

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity as it Applies to Soil Moisture

Source: Dr. Bob Nielsen, Purdue University (Edited)

 

 

While Dr. Nielsen wrote this for Indiana, it unfortunately fits Ohio this year also.

 

Suitability of the soil moisture and whether a field is “fit” for field work and planting is partially “in the eyes of the beholder”, but is also subject to the “laws of relativity” and calendar date. Use your best judgement.

The bad news is that Monday’s USDA-NASS crop progress report estimated that only 6% of Indiana’s corn (4% of Ohio’s Corn) had been planted as of May 12, which puts our farmers in the unenviable position of suffering through the slowest planting progress EVER for this point in May. Nationally, only 30% of the corn crop was estimated to be planted as of May 12, compared with the most recent 5-year average progress of 66%. With more rain moving through the state late this week, let me offer a contrarian (if not “tongue in cheek”) view about soil moisture and planting.

The superintendent of our Purdue Agronomy Farm and I commiserate every planting season when it comes to deciding when the soil is “fit” to work or plant. We scuff the surface of the fields in mid-April, dig a few spadefuls of soil, squeeze the soil into a ball like the soil scientists tell us to do, and then agree that the soil is too wet to work or plant.

Around the first of May, we scuff the surface of the fields, dig a few spadefuls of soil, squeeze the soil into a ball like the soil scientists tell us to do, and then agree that the soil is too wet to work or plant.

Again in mid-May, we scuff the surface of the fields, dig a few spadefuls of soil, squeeze the soil into a ball like the soil scientists tell us to do, and then agree that the soil is maybe just about right to work or plant, but we’ll give it a few more days.

By late May, we scuff the surface of the fields, dig a few spadefuls of soil, squeeze the soil into a ball like the soil scientists tell us to do, and then agree that the soil is just as wet as it was back in mid-April, but maybe we ought to be working ground and planting anyway.

Einstein was right…………it’s all about relativity.

The point of my sharing this annual ritual with you is that we are rapidly approaching the point in the planting season where we need to “fish or cut bait”. Yes, there are risks of working ground too wet or planting “on the wet side” (see articles below), but there are also risks of waiting so long for the soil to become “fit” to begin planting that the majority of your corn ground gets planted way too late.

Heaven forbid that I should recommend anyone to work ground or plant corn in soils that are wet enough to cause severe compaction that will haunt you later this summer. But, you know, when you decide back in mid-April to wait, you’ve got quite a bit of good planting season left to go. When you decide in mid-May to wait AND you have a lot of acres to cover, what you save by avoiding some soil compaction now may be less than what you risk by planting the bulk of your corn acres very, very late.

If you concur with these thoughts and decide to “mud in” your corn and suffer serious yield losses; then you did not hear it from me. If you “pull the trigger” now and successfully avoid planting the bulk of your corn in mid-June and win the yield jackpot; then I’ll accept all the credit.

There are no black & white answers to this situation, there are no silver bullets, and there are no certainties in farming. Use your best judgement in deciding when to head back to the fields over the coming days and/or weeks. You know your fields and soils better than anyone else.

Delayed Planting Effects on Corn Yield: A “Historical” Perspective

According to the USDA/NASS, for the week ending May 5, only 2% of Ohio’s projected corn acreage was planted – compared to 20% last year and 27% for the five-year average. Persistent rains and saturated soil conditions have delayed corn planting. The weather forecast this week indicates the likelihood of more rain, so it is probable that many soggy fields may not dry out soon.

Long-term research by universities and seed companies across the Corn Belt gives us a pretty good idea of planting date effects on relative yield potential. The recommended time for planting corn in northern Ohio is April 15 to May 10 and in southern Ohio, April 10 to May 10. In the central Corn Belt, estimated yield loss per day with delayed planting varies from about 0.3% per day early in May to about 1% per day by the end of May (Nielsen, 2019). These yield losses can be attributed to a number of factors including a shorter growing season, greater disease and insect pressure and higher risk of hot, dry conditions during pollination.

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Corn Management Practices for Later Planting Dates – Changes to Consider

Source: Peter Thomison, Steve Culman

As prospects for a timely start to spring planting diminish, growers need to reassess their planting strategies and consider adjustments. Since delayed planting reduces the yield potential of corn, the foremost attention should be given to management practices that will expedite crop establishment. The following are some suggestions and guidelines to consider in dealing with a late planting season.

Although the penalty for late planting is important, care should be taken to avoid tillage and planting operations when soil is wet. Yield reductions resulting from “mudding the seed in” are usually much greater than those resulting from a slight planting delay. Yields may be reduced somewhat this year due to delayed planting,  but effects of soil compaction can reduce yield for several years to come. Keep in mind that we typically do not see significant yield reductions due to late planting until mid-May or even later in some years. In 2017, favorable growing conditions allowed many growers to achieve exceptionally grain high yields in corn planted as late as early June.

If you originally planned to apply nitrogen pre-plant, consider alternatives so that planting is not further delayed when favorable planting conditions occur. Although application of anhydrous N is usually recommended prior to April 15 in order to minimize potential injury to emerging corn, anhydrous N may be applied as close as a week before planting (unless hot, dry weather is predicted). In late planting seasons associated with wet cool soil conditions, growers should consider side-dressing anhydrous N (or UAN liquid solutions) and applying a minimum of 30 lb/N broadcast or banded to stimulate early seedling growth. These approaches will allow greater time for planting. Continue reading