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Real-world planting requires patience

You’ve planned all winter for spring planting. You know which variety and hybrid will go where. Then, at the last minute, someone makes a bobble and throws a monkey wrench into your plans. Maybe they’re out of the variety you expected to get. What do you do?

Go with the flow, and make sure your decision makes sense, according to the Indiana Certified Crop Advisers panelists. Here’s their response to a real-world situation:

I wanted to plant full-season soybeans first, starting mid-month. Due to a mix-up, they didn’t get treated, but my short-season soybeans were treated. If I start mid-April and it’s cool, should I plant the treated ones first?

Greg Kneubuhler, G & K Concepts, Harlan: I would try to get my full-season soybeans treated while we still have an opportune time. If not, I would suggest starting with the short-season soybeans. We’ve noticed with our clients that the seed treatments are most beneficial to a stand early in the planting season.

Mixing up planting dates has little to no effect upon yield. Our data suggests only a 2% difference in yield between an adapted full-season variety and a mid-season variety planted through May. Our data also suggests that it’s not critical to begin switching soybean maturity groups until we get into mid-June or later.

Jesse Grogan, LG Seeds, Lafayette: One key factor for early planting when soil conditions permit is variety selection. Select the variety that has excellent emergence, early-season vigor and very good tolerance to sudden death syndrome. Seed treatment is important after variety selection. Soybean seed planted early can be in the ground two to three weeks before emergence. Soybean seed treatments are effective during this period against seed and soilborne diseases. Select the best variety for early planting, then consider seed treatment and maturity rating.

Darrell Shemwell, Posey County Co-op, Poseyville: If you can’t get your full-season soybeans treated, plant treated short-season beans first. The treatment will protect the seed against diseases such as pythium, phytophthora, fusarium and rhizoctonia that can be more prevalent in wetter, colder soils. If it includes an insecticide, it will also protect against early-season pests. This should help you get a better stand of beans and improve yield.

Variety choice matters most later

The decision to switch varieties becomes more critical on the tail end of the season rather than the front end, Greg Kneubuhler suggests. Data printed in the Purdue University Corn and Soybean Field Guide backs that up.

Based on trials through the years, you can expect 100% of full yield planting either a midseason or full-season variety May 20. However, by May 30, the percentages drop to 96% and 94%, respectively. It could be time to switch to a midseason bean for your area.

If you plant June 10, it’s 92% and 90%, and for June 20, 82% and 78%. Expect 70% of original yield potential for a midseason variety planted June 30, and 60% if it’s planted July 10, south of Interstate 70 only. Full-season varieties aren’t recommended for June 20 or July 10 planting. Results may vary depending upon where you are in Indiana.


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Good stand: Seed treatment can be a beneficial choice, especially if you’re planting soybeans early, no matter what their maturity group.

This article published in the April, 2011 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.