May planting: What do I do now?

By Brian Essinger, DeKalb and Asgrow territory manager in northwest Ohio

It is natural for anxiety to increase a little each day as the rain drops hit our windows and windshields and yet the key to successful farming is to remain patient and stick to your plan. I have gotten some questions wrapped around what do to do while we wait. First and most importantly stay positive. There is still plenty of time and opportunity in this growing season as we begin May. Again, the key is to remain patient and stick to your plan. We will get a good opportunity to plant this crop. We will be ready when that time comes, and we need to enjoy doing it!

Best practices suggest not switching any maturities until Memorial Day (May 30).

1. Yield and drydown are greater functions of summer weather than planting timing. The key is getting the seed planted in as good shape as conditions will allow.

2. Outside influence: Do not let other growers/outsiders create a panic. We are advising staying with your plan for optimal results.

3. Independent Opinions: Both Ohio State and Purdue suggests not switching maturities until late May, i.e. Memorial Day.

4. Profit opportunities: With cash corn prices are and our focus needs to be on output and yield probabilities. Today, the probability for highest yield favors 110-113 day corns.  This does not mean your 102 – 109 day corns are not good or will not yield; the probabilities for the highest yield lie in the later maturities.

5. When to switch crops? We are not even close to this question so just wait is my best answer. Besides corn right now is at a $100 to $200 per acre profit advantage over soybeans.

Soybean populations

1. As a general rule, every 15 days later into the season, we need to bump our soybean population 10K to 15K. The wider the row (20-inch) I would be on the low end of the range. The narrower (7.5-inch), you should be closer to the upper end of the population range. Do you have enough soybeans to cover these needs?

2. Why should I bump? The reasoning for bumping populations is to increase the potential number of nodes produced by plant, i.e. potential for pods. Earlier in the season you will get more nodes through plant growth than population as we progress later in the season extra plants will fill this void.

3. Early or later season varieties? Just like corn stick with your plan. When we move into June or you double crop soybeans you will want to plant a 3.0 to 3.4 maturity soybeans to gain growth, nodes, and optimal yields.

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