Planting date and crop yields

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Every year, weather seems to play havoc with farmer’s desire to get crops planted timely.  Early planted crops generally have a yield advantage over late planted crops. Most crop yield is related to moisture  at pollination in both corn and soybeans.  So, even if crops are planted later than normal, good yields are possible if there is adequate summer moisture.  Usually, July rains have a big impact on corn yields, while August rains have more of an impact on soybean yields.

Dr. Emerson Nafziger, Photo Credit, University of Illinois Extension

With high crop prices, farmers are eager to start planting.  Cold wet spring often delay planting.   University of Illinois, Dr. Emerson Nafziger, offers some insights on corn and soybean planting dates and yield. Generally, there is about a 3-week window in Ohio for optimal planting which is between April 20th and May 10th. Planting after May 10th on average results in about a 0.3% yield loss per day corn planting is delayed and by the end of May, this loss increases to 1% per day. 

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Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities pilot program update

This spring, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the first round of funding through the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities pilot program has received more than 450 proposals ranging from $5 million to $100 million each. The applications USDA received came from more than 350 groups across various sectors.

The American Soybean Association submitted two letters in support of proposals for the program. The first letter supports a project led by Bushel, Inc. and the U.S. Soybean Export Council, which will test the ability of their apps to collect climate-smart production data from farmers and transmit it to grain buyers in an effort to improve traceability and possibly augment the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP). The second is in support of a project by the National Corn Growers Association, the National Pork Board and the United Soybean Board that aims to increase cover crop adoption in the corn-soy belt through creation of an innovative private marketplace that will generate demand for climate smart commodities.… Continue reading

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Spring SCN testing and a research opportunity for Ohio growers

By Horacio Lopez-Nicora, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2022-13


While it is important to know about the presence of SCN in a field, it is more important to know the SCN numbers. It will determine the best management strategy. It is important, therefore, to Test your Fields to Know your SCN Numbers.

In the spring, either before or at planting, is a good time to sample for SCN.

Soybean cyst nematode eggs (note SCN juvenile inside eggs). Photo Credit, The Ohio State University

A soil test in spring will reveal if SCN is present and if so, at what levels. If you are planning to collect samples for soil fertility or participate in an on-farm trial that requires soil sampling, a subsample can be used for SCN testing  

With funding from the Ohio Soybean Council and The SCN Coalition we will process up to TWO soil samples, per grower, to be tested for SCN, free of charge.

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Soybean planting progress, emergence, and misconceptions

By Dr. Laura Lindsey, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2022-13

Recent wet weather across the state has slowed soybean planting progress, but should be picking up with warmer and dryer weather. As of the last week of April, 2% of the soybean acres in Ohio were planted. Last year at the same time, 17% of soybean acres were planted. However, 2018 through 2020, planting progress was similar at 1-2%.

Table 1. Percent soybean acres planted in Ohio by week for the past five years (USDA NASS).

As soybean planting continues and plants emerge, here are some things to look for as well as some common misconceptions from soybean extension specialists across the U.S.

What Matters at Planting and Emergence: At this point in the growing season, obtaining a stand of sufficient plant population is the first step in ensuring maximum soybean yield. It is important to seed at a rate that will provide an adequate and relatively uniform stand.

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Crusting soil concerns

By Osler OrtezLaura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension

Warmer temperatures combined with dryer weather finally pushed planting progress along. For fields that have been already planted, recent precipitation and warmer days ahead can build conditions for soil crusting. When heavy rains occur after planting, soil crusting can become a concern, inducing a shallow hard layer on the soil surface that forms due to rapid drying (e.g., warm days and wind). Conditions prone to soil crusting include conventionally tilled fields (in addition to soil erosion), low cover crop residue, fine soil textures, and soils with low organic matter. Besides affecting seedling emergence, soil crusting can result in poor growing conditions, reduced stands and plant vigor, and less water infiltration to the soil profile.

For soybean, if you suspect poor emergence due to soil crusting (or any other factor), take a stand count from several areas within your field at the VC growth stage (unifoliate leaves unrolled sufficiently, so the leaf edges are not touching).… Continue reading

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Watch for early wheat diseases

By Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist

The wheat crop in Ohio is now between early boot (Feekes 10, in the south) and approaching Feekes 8 (flag leaf emergence) in northern counties. Cooler-than-usual conditions over the last few weeks have slowed the crop down considerably, but as temperatures increase, the crop will advance through several growth stages over a relatively short period. Cool conditions have also kept foliar diseases in check, but Septoria, and to a lesser extent, powdery mildew are still showing up in some fields. Septoria tritici leaf spot is favored by cool, wet conditions similar to those experienced over the last several weeks. It usually shows up first on the lower leaves as yellowish flecks that later develop into irregularly-shaped, brownish-gray lesions, with easily-seen dark-brown to black spots (called pycnidia) in the center. Cool temperatures and high relative humidity are also required for the development of powdery mildew.… Continue reading

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Will 2022 bring big ROI with wheat?

By Matt Reese

It did not take 2022’s skyrocketing wheat prices for Doug Dawson to invest time, money, and management into wheat on his Delaware County row-crop and hog operation. He has been intensively managing wheat for years and it was paying off even before the big jump in prices in recent months.

In 2021, Dawson finished a close second in Ohio’s Wheat Yield Contest with over 135 bushels per acre (Doug Goyings in Paulding County had the top yield with 138.27 bushels). Dawson has been stepping up management of his wheat crop for a number of years and is hopeful his 2022 wheat will top last year’s yield.

“I know a lot of guys who spend hours and hours out managing the corn fields and I probably spend that in my wheat, but with $11 wheat, I’ll take that time,” Dawson said. “With all the hogs and manure to spread every year and everything else on our plate, I have to plant at least 200 acres of wheat so I have a place to haul the manure.… Continue reading

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First time no-tillers

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

As the national price of diesel fuel averages around $5.40 per gallon, many farmers are considering no-tilling both soybeans and corn for the first time. Also, due to wet weather and a late planting window, getting crop seed in the ground becomes even more important.  Here are a few tips that may help improve your first year no-till crop yields.

First, scout your fields. Weeds like purple dead nettle, henbit, dandelion, chickweed, yellow rocket, ragweed and marestail can be problems and require a good burndown herbicide.


Most farmers will use glyphosate (Roundup®)but remember that as a chelator, glyphosate ties up many micronutrients, especially iron, manganese, zinc, and copper, so minimize it use.

Second, check for slugs and other pests, especially in weedy fields. Ferroyx® is a new slug bait that has a 40-day residual.  The pellets are very small and the slugs ingest it. 

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Biological nutrient uptake

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services, adapted from “Solubility versus Biology” by  Lawrence Mayhew.

Regenerative farming practices emphasize nutrient uptake from soils through natural soil biological cycles.  This ecologically‐based agricultural approach uses microbes and carbon compounds to produce crops naturally rather than relying entirely on highly soluble “salty” nutrient inputs for plant nutrition.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Before commercial synthetic fertilizer, historically, soil microbes provided about 80% of soil nitrogen (N) through the efficient process of microbial N fixation. However, soil compaction and over‐use of nitrogen fertilizers are having a negative impact on N fixing microbes. For the first time, the total fixed N supplied by microbes is less than the amount of applied synthetic N from fertilizer.  Excess salt based or soluble fertilizer is disrupting the natural soil balance.

Soil microbe interact with plant roots and soil minerals to releases plant nutrients from soil minerals. Biological release of plant nutrients has far greater potential for plant mineral uptake than relying entirely on soluble nutrients from fertilizer.

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Challenging nutrient management decisions for 2022

By Matt Reese

Planting season has finally arrived after a frustrating cold and soggy start to spring. Are there more frustrations ahead for corn and soybean farmers due to the ongoing supply challenges and high fertilizer cost scenarios?

“I don’t think the issue is going to be that we’re going to be short on supply domestically. The challenge that we face is how do we make sure that we as a retailer are in a good position to satisfy the needs of our customers,” said Robert Mullen, vice president of agricultural technology for Heritage Cooperative. “If you haven’t secured fertilizer, at this point you certainly need to start having that conversation so that we make sure we take a position on getting product into the bins so that we can satisfy your needs. And I can tell you on the retail side, that’s all we’re trying to do right now is make sure that we have product in place where we know we’re going to need it.… Continue reading

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Corn leaf diseases to watch for in 2022

By Dave Nanda, Ph.D. Director of Genetics for Seed Genetics Direct
It is almost impossible to develop resistance to all of the prevalent diseases while developing new varieties. The disease organisms are constantly changing and by the time breeders develop new varieties resistant to certain disease organism, the pathogens mutate and change. In order to maximize the potential yield of crops, farmers need to also protect them from diseases. Fungicides is one way to do so. 

Dave Nanda

Depending on the spring weather and past experience, there are leaf diseases which might develop and dominate in July and August, most of the which are caused by the fungal organisms.

Northern corn leaf blight (NCLB) can get started from the residue of previous crops which may provide the initial inoculum and is further spread by airborne spores. It likes cool, wet and humid weather. NCLB produces long, cigar shaped lesions which are grayish to tan in color.… Continue reading

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Breaking down crop residue

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

For many farmers, crop residue can either be a plus or a minus. Crop residue has many beneficial plant nutrients when it decomposes, but when the residue is slow to break down, it keeps soils cold and wet, and can be difficult to plant.  Good crop residue breakdown is dependent upon moisture, temperature, soil microbes (fungi and bacteria) and particle size.  Late harvesting and some insecticides and herbicides may delay or inhibit crop residue break down.  When crop residue is slow to decompose; planting equipment can plug easier, crop populations may decline, and tires on equipment tend to wear out faster.

When crops are harvested late, soil temperatures often decline.  Most soil microbes (bacteria and fungi) grow the fastest when soil temperatures are above 50OF.  Excessively wet soil conditions favor bacteria that thrive in low oxygen, and slows down crop residue digestion. 

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eFields partnering with growers to evaluate Xyway fungicide

By Stephanie KarhoffElizabeth Hawkins, Ohio State University Extension

Preventing significant yield losses from disease is likely on the forefront of growers’ minds following the 2021 growing season. A new product available to growers is FMC’s fungicide Xyway LFR. OSU Extension eFields program is partnering with growers to conduct on-farm trials evaluating the effect of an at-plant soil application of flutriafol (Xyway) on corn health and yield. Information from this trial will be used to improve corn disease management recommendations for growers throughout the state.

At each field site, an untreated control will be compared to plots treated with Xyway applied either in-furrow and/or 2×2. Additionally, growers may also include the following treatments:

  • Xyway + VT/R1 Foliar Fungicide
  • VT/R1 Foliar Fungicide

For this study, a minimum of three replications is required, and four is preferred. Plots must also be randomized to eliminate bias due to plot order. Plots should be at least 500 feet long to ensure accurate yield monitor data.… Continue reading

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Imbibitional chilling — Is it a concern?

By Alexander LindseyLaura LindseyOsler Ortez, PhD, Ohio State University Extension

Warmer temperatures combined with the excitement (and need) to get crops in the ground triggered planting around the state last week (April 18 to April 24) or even before. With some warm days without much precipitation forecasted this week (April 25 to May 1), planting will continue. However, cold temperatures and precipitation after planting can cause imbibitional chilling, and this is something that we should certainly be aware of (watch for!). 

Imbibitional chilling may occur in corn and soybean seeds if the soil temperature is below 50 degrees F when the seed imbibes (rapidly takes up water from the soil, usually within 24 hours after planting). Imbibitional chilling can cause reductions in stand and seedling vigor. If seeds were planted into soil with at least 50 degrees F of temperature and adequate moisture (at least 40-50% plant available water) for at least one day, the drop in temperature is not likely to lead to imbibitional chilling issues.… Continue reading

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Manage soybeans to push profits

Pam Smith, DTN Crop Technology Editor

By Pamela Smith, DTN Crops Technology Editor

Taking soybean production to the next level requires a different thought process. DTN asked Greg McClure and his son, Cameron, who farm near St. Francisville, Illinois, to outline some of the changes they’ve made during the past few years.

The father-son duo has been participating in AgriGold’s Yield Masters program to explore opportunities and barriers to increasing soybean efficiency. Here’s a snapshot of their soybean-management journey.

Q: What’s been your crop rotation, and is that changing?

A: Until 2017, we continually planted 60% of our acres to corn with some fields having corn for 10 or more consecutive years. From 2017 through 2020, we tried to operate on a 50-50 ratio while rotating every acre between corn and beans annually. As demand has increased back toward soybean meal in many livestock diets and future demand for soybean oil to be used in biofuels, we decided in 2021 to pursue several acres of high-management bean-on-bean production.

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Rotate SCN-resistant seed varieties for optimal protection

Understanding the difference between soybean cyst nematode-resistant varieties may help soybean growers understand the importance of rotating sources of resistance, which is one of the “active SCN management” strategies advised by The SCN Coalition. For combating SCN during the 2022 growing season, The SCN Coalition encourages growers to work with their advisors to select the appropriate SCN-resistant varieties.

Melissa Mitchum, University of Georgia molecular nematologist

“Most soybean growers are familiar with PI 88788 and Peking, the two most widely used sources of resistance to soybean cyst nematode,” says Melissa Mitchum, University of Georgia molecular nematologist. “What might be news to growers is these different sources of SCN resistance have different resistance genes — also known as different modes of action.”

Simply speaking, resistance from the PI 88788 line contains one gene, Rhg1. Resistance from Peking contains two resistance genes, Rhg1 and Rhg4. “There are also different flavors — aka alleles — of the Rhg1 genes, which is where the A and B designations come into play,” Mitchum adds.

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Be sure to monitor soil temperatures

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc. 

Soil temperature is a critical part of successful corn and soybean germination. For seed to begin the germination process, soil temps must be at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Prior to planting early in the spring, it is important to monitor soil temperatures and wait to plant until soil warms up enough to promote quick germination and emergence. Soil temperatures should be in the 50s and expected to continue to rise.

It is also important to keep in mind that soil temperatures can fluctuate relatively quickly. For example, soil temps in southern Ohio were in the mid 40s Wednesday, April 20. With warmer weather and sunshine they had climbed to above 60 degrees on Saturday, April 23. Although soil temps have warmed up enough to plant due to a weekend of 80 degree weather, keep in mind soil temps can drop below 50 just as quickly if we have a cold rain event.… Continue reading

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Will wheat be back in the mix for more Ohio farms in 2022?

With wheat prices already hitting a 14-year high this year, more Ohio farmers are now planning to plant more of the grain. The war in Ukraine and its impact on wheat exports is driving wheat to record prices, leading more farmers statewide to consider planting more wheat as a result.
That’s according to Laura Lindsey, a field crops expert with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Lindsey, a soybean and small grains specialist with Ohio State University Extension, said she’s already fielded numerous calls, emails, and Twitter messages from farmers statewide wanting to know the feasibility of planting wheat this year and what they can do to take advantage of the record prices for the grain.
The main question Ohio farmers have, Lindsey said, is whether they can get wheat planted this spring to harvest this year and take advantage of the high wheat prices now or if they must wait for fall-planted varieties. While… Continue reading

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Plant forage stands as soon as feasible

By Mark SulcJason Hartschuh, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Early spring provides one of the two preferred times to seed perennial cool-season forages, the other being late summer. Given our current weather patterns, planting opportunities will likely be few and short again this spring, continuing the pattern of the past several years. So we need to be ready to roll when the weather gives us a planting window. The following 10 steps will improve your chances for successful perennial forage establishment.

  1. Check now to make sure soil pH and fertility are in the recommended ranges. Follow the Tri-state Soil Fertility Recommendations ( Forages are more productive where soil pH is above 6.0, but for alfalfa it should be 6.5 to 6.8. Soil phosphorus should be at least 20 ppm for grasses and 30 ppm for legumes, while minimum soil potassium should be 100 ppm for sandy soils less than 5 CEC or 120 ppm on all other soils.
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