Planting of the U.S. soybean crop remains behind the five-year average. In fact, Ohio farmers have planted only 26% of the intended soybean acres. Farmers in other states such as Indiana and the Dakotas have only about half their soybeans planted. Despite the late season, Dr. Jim Beuerlein, professor emeritus in agronomy extension at The Ohio State University, says growers can still maximize yields and revenue by changing a few cultural practices.
The goal of normally planted soybeans is to develop a complete leaf canopy that collects as much sunlight as possible by the time flowering begins. Beuerlein says to duplicate this condition in late-planted soybeans farmers should use narrower row widths, such as 7.5 inches apart or no wider than 15 inches apart, which will help late-planted soybeans produce a better canopy. Beuerlein also recommends a 20% increase in seeding rates. This can help raise the height of the lower pods to minimize the number of pods lost at harvest.
Research has shown that when planting is delayed by three weeks, plant maturity is delayed by only seven to 10 days, so it may not be necessary to switch to a shorter-season variety. Also, applying a fungicide treatment to soybean seed prior to planting will help control seedling diseases and increase root structure and mass to support a faster-growing plant.
As for corn planting, nationally 94% of the crop has been seeded but there are several areas that are still behind schedule. The amount of the crop left to be planted in North Dakota, Michigan, Indiana and Pennsylvania ranges from 13% to 20%. However Ohio also takes the prize with 42% of its corn crop remaining to be planted.
Warm weather last week did help emergence of the corn that had been planted and according to USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey 67% of the corn that has emerged is in good to excellent condition.