Double-crop considerations after wheat

In Mid-June last year we were running full bore with wheat harvest and double-crop soybeans because the hot and dry weather pushed things along rather quickly. This year, the wheat in places looks like it is turning rather quickly but when you get out in these fields it looks like the maturity is a little behind schedule. I think we’ll still probably be running quite a bit of wheat at the end of June and the beginning of July, which is about normal.

This year, with the wheat crop is pushing just a little later, there is still quite a bit of interest in double-cropping because we do have good soil moisture. The demand for the double-crop soybean seed has been strong this year from guys with a lot of wheat acres out.

In preparation for harvest it’s a good idea to leave 8 to 12 inches of stubble out there to maintain soil moisture. Some growers in southern Ohio will bale the straw, but when they do not bale it, we encourage them to make sure they are getting a uniform even spread with that straw as it comes out of the machine so we don’t have any interference with planting depth or any delays in emergence of the soybeans. They should also plant them in a no-till system, which most are already doing.

When you think about selecting varieties for double crop soybeans, it is really important as we go south to pick a mid- to late-maturing variety. They are indeterminate varieties that respond to day length in how they grow and develop. We are trying to produce as many bushels as we possibly can and we have seen some really good responses out of group 3.5 and even into early Group 4 as double-crop varieties in southern Ohio. Those are selected to maximize yields and typically have plenty of time to mature before it gets too late in the fall.

Planting depth as we think about moisture needs to be in that 1- to 1.5-inch range. As we push later in the planting date with double-crop soybeans, we need to see populations in the 225,000- to 250,000-range to make sure we get adequate plant coverage and adequate bushing in the field to shade out the weeds and help us through the season.

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