Monday, May 22, 2017

Rain Rain Go Away Do I Switch to Soybean From Zea May(s)

As growers begin to contemplate switching intended corn acres to soybean, here is a quick checklist of points and questions to consider or reconsider before making that switch.
  • Do I have a residual corn herbicide down that is not labeled for soybean? If the answer to this question is yes, then Don’t Switch Crops. It doesn't matter how much rain we have had. Plant back label restrictions must be followed.
  • What is my cost of production and weather outlook for finally getting this crop in the ground? Dr. Joe Lauer just posted his corn replanting and yield loss guide. Expected corn grain yield if planted in the next 8 days would range from ~70 to 85% of maximum yield. Soybean yield would roughly be 85 to 90% of maximum yield based on your maturity group and final planting date. Run your numbers, talk to your lender, and see what gives you the greatest ROI.
  • I already put out all my nitrogen (or for WI growers - I am following alfalfa). What potential impacts will that have on my soybean crop?
    • Dr. Emerson Nafziger did a great job shedding light on question #1 regarding N management... How Much Nitrogen is Gone
    • Knowing that most of the N will likely be available to the soybean crop, there is a risk of lush vegetative growth, possible lodging (harvest efficiencies) and higher risk for white mold. However soybean total dry matter and growth will be behind due to its late planting so this risk is lessened. I would most be concerned about white mold. Luckily, we have Dr. Damon Smith at UW Madison and he will keep us updated as to potential white mold risk this summer so stay tuned for possible next steps!
    • Soybean is very efficient at N uptake and partitioning so that N will likely still see its way to the elevator.
    • If you decide to plant soybeans into these high N fields, I would pull the inoculant from the seed treatment mix if this field has seen regular soybean cropping (2 years out of the last 5). Biological nitrogen fixation will be delayed due to free N availability and the soybean crop will rely on background soil rhizobia for subsequent infection. 
  • Will I be planting elite soybean genetics if I switch or will I be planting a dog? Even in late planted situations, we are still roughly at 90% maximum yield potential. Don't ditch your elite corn genetics to plant junk beans. Please see our Wisconsin Soybean Performance Trials for more information on variety selection.
  • Lastly, how much of my 2017 crop is marketed and how flexible are my options. Even though plantings of both crops are delayed, if we continue to see poor corn crop ratings across the ‘I'- states and then see another million acres of corn go to soybeans, I  believe this will put significant pricing pressure on both crops.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Soybean Management Strategies to Facilitate Timely Winter Wheat Establishment in 2017

Article written by Dr. Adam Gaspar and Dr. Shawn P. Conley
 
Winter wheat acres across WI have declined over the past few years due to late grain harvests, disease concerns (FHB or scab) and poor wheat prices, however anyone that lives and works in WI knows that a base number of cereal acres are needed to support the dairy industry (straw and land to summer haul manure). As farmers get ready to kick off the 2017 growing season here are a few suggestions to help get your 2017/18 winter wheat crop established on time.
  • Plant early. If weather and soil conditions allow for it plant the acreage you intend to go to winter wheat first. This is regardless of which crop you plan to follow (soybean, corn silage or field corn). Remember the optimal planting date window for most of our WI winter wheat acres is the last week of September through the first week in October. In table 1 below you will notice that for every 3 days planting is delayed we see ~1 day delay in beginning maturity (R7), so delaying planting by one week equates to about 2 days later maturing. However when planting is delaying past June 1st it turns in to more of a 1: 1 relationship. Also remember in WI it normally takes another 5-8 days for the soybean crop to move from R7 to R8 (full maturity). 
Table 1. Calendar date for reaching R5 (beginning seed fill) and R7 (beginning maturity) growth stage by planting date and maturity group for the 2014, 2015, and 2016 growing seasons at Arlington and Hancock, WI.
Date of Growth Stage Initiation
R5
R7
Planting Date
Maturity Group
Arlington
Hancock
Arlington
Hancock
May 1st
2.5
3-Aug
4-Aug.
14-Sept.
15-Sept.
2.0
30-July
1-Aug.
9-Sept.
14-Sept.
1.5
26-July
29-July
3-Sept.
9-Sept.
May 20th
2.5
7-Aug.
9-Aug.
18-Sept.
20-Sept.
2.0
3-Aug.
7-Aug.
14-Sept.
18-Sept.
1.5
3-Aug.
4-Aug.
6-Sept.
15-Sept.
June 1st
2.0
11-Aug.
12-Aug.
18-Sept.
24-Sept.
1.5
10-Aug.
9-Aug.
16-Sept.
18-Sept.
1.0
7-Aug.
8-Aug.
10-Sept.
14-Sept.
June 10th
2.0
15-Aug.
17-Aug.
25-Sept.
30-Sept.
1.5
14-Aug.
16-Aug.
20-Sept.
25-Sept.
1.0
11-Aug.
14-Aug.
16-Sept.
18-Sept.
June 20th
1.5
21-Aug.
21-Aug.
27-Sept.
2-Oct.
1.0
18-Aug.
18-Aug.
24-Sept.
26-Sept.
0.5
16-Aug.
16-Aug.
19-Sept.
22-Sept.

  • Consider an earlier maturity group soybean. Plant a high yielding, earlier maturity group soybean to help get that soybean crop harvested on time. Though later maturing varieties "on-average" produce the greatest yields, data from our 2016 WI Soybean Variety Test Results show the maturity group range that included a starred variety (starred varieties do not differ from the highest yield variety in that test) was 1.8-2.8, 1.4-2.4, and 0.8-1.8 in our southern, central and north central regions respectively. This suggests that the "relative" maturity group rating is trumped by individual cultivar genetic yield potential. Therefore growers have options to plant an early maturity group soybean that will be harvested on time and not sacrifice yield.
  • Crop rotation matters. Our long-term rotation data suggests winter wheat yields are greatest following soybean, followed by corn silage and lastly corn for grain.  Therefore plan your rotation accordingly to maximize yield and system efficiency.
  • Manage for the system not necessarily the crop. If you are serious about maximizing wheat grain and straw yield on your farm one of the biggest contributing factors for both of these in WI is timely wheat planting. Make management decisions to facilitate that. *We all know what inputs can extend maturity that don't necessarily guarantee greater yields. So instead of listing them and fielding angry emails I am being strategically vague here*  As a producer is it better to sacrifice 0-2 bushels of soybean yield or 10-20 bushels of wheat grain yield and 0.5 tons of straw?  
As we all know mother nature holds the ultimate trump card on whether we will get our winter wheat crop established in that optimal window. These aforementioned strategies are relatively low risk to the farmer and regardless of what weather patterns we run into are agronomically sound.