Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Soybean Harvest in Wisconsin is at a Crawl

Wisconsin growers are struggling to get their soybean crop harvested and we are no exception. As of today the WSRP (WI Soybean Research Program) have only harvested 18% of all of our plots and projected weather outlooks show no real extended harvest window in sight. One of our combine crews just called from Chippewa Falls, WI minutes ago. We opened up the field and were treated with soybean moisture's in the low to mid 20's. Nothing left for us to do but shut it down for the day and hope for some drying weather. As we continue to struggle through harvest soybean seed quality, drying, and storage issues will continue to arise. Below are a few sources of information that may prove useful as harvest pushes forward.

Note of Interest: John Gaska called from the field after the initial post and indicated that all of the pods he inspected remain tightly sealed and no germination was occuring. Grain quality at the Arlington location still looked good to excellent.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Drop Dead Date for Seeding Winter Wheat

Given our 7- day weather outlook and the fact that the winter wheat we planted on October 1st is barely spiking it is obvious that the drop dead date for trying to get the rest of our winter wheat planted in 2009 is quickly approaching. Unfortunately assigning a strict calendar date to end planting is difficult given the fact that we don't know what the weather will be like from now until Christmas or the ground freezes (whichever comes first). What we do know is:

  • From our data at our Arlington and Lancaster winter wheat sites we see significant yield loss as planting date is delayed from mid-September to mid-to-late October (Table 1)

Table 1. Planting date effect on grain yield and winter survival at Lancaster and Arlington WI, 2009.

Planting date

Grain Yield

% Yield Loss

Lancaster, WI










Arlington, WI










  • A warm November or December can do wonders. Our winter wheat variety trial was planted at our Janesville location on November 8th 2006 and averaged 76 bu per acre whereas our Arlington site was planted on September 28th 2006 and yielded 78 bu per acre. However given our record cool season I would not mortgage the farm on a warm November/December.

  • If a grower is still planning on planting winter wheat it is likley for reasons other than just yield (i.e. manure ground, straw, setting up a rotation, etc.). To ensure the best possible success given our planting and growing environment:
  1. Plant "new seed
  2. Plant fungicide treated seed
  3. Plant a minimum of 1.75 million seeds per acre (more would be better, up to 2.2 million)

For additional information regarding wheat establishment please see Recommendations for Winter Wheat Establishment in 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Fall is a Good Time to Pull Soil Samples for SCN

The UW Agronomy Department, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, is again offering free SCN testing for Wisconsin growers. This program is intended for growers to sample up to three of their fields in order to identify if SCN is present and at what levels. Growers will be responsible for collecting soil from fields suspected to have SCN and then sending the sample to the SCN testing laboratory. They will receive a lab report back with the SCN egg count and a brochure to help plan future rotations and other cultural practices to lower the level of infestation.

We have a limited number of these free kits available and will furnish them on a first come - first served basis. Each kit has a bag and a prepaid mailer for one soil sample which should represent about 10-15 acres. Both the postage and lab fees are prepaid. Before or right after harvest are great times to collect soil samples for routine soil fertility analysis and for SCN monitoring.

Soil sample test kits are available now and can be requested from Colleen Smith at clsmith8@wisc.edu or at 608-262-7702.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Preliminary Soybean Yields

Delayed maturity and inclement weather has greatly delayed/slowed our harvest progress. The rain however has given us a chance to get accurate early yield estimates at a few of our sites. Across the seven experiments we have harvested to date soybean grain yield has ranged from 48 (one of our Mn x glyphosate experiments) to 65 bushels (one of our inoculant experiments) per acre. We have only harvested sites near Arlington and Waterloo WI. As soon as it dries out and our beans become harvest ripe we hope to hit the road and begin harvest at our other out-state experimental sites.