The Countdown to Soybean Emergence Starts Now
After cool, wet weather put a halt to planting across much of the country, the skies have cleared, and planters are rolling. Now, concerns about delayed planting are fading, and focus is turning to yield. For soybean farmers hoping to capitalize on high commodity prices, that starts with keeping an eye on emergence.
Soybean farmers in the East and Deep South are largely ahead of schedule compared to their counterparts in the North Delta and Midwest. However, rising temperatures and longer days are reassuring to Helena Agronomists in every region. Ryan Lee, Helena Agronomist based in Indiana, expects soybeans planted in mid-late May to catch up quickly with favorable weather. The question is, what’s popping up alongside soybeans?
“Winter annuals are always a problem in soybeans,” says Lee. “The only way to do a good job on tough weeds like waterhemp or palmer amaranth is with a residual program. If your soybeans are planted, but they still haven’t popped up, you might still have an opportunity for a pre-emergence application. Although, with temperatures this warm, you only have so much time, and that’s going to create operational challenges.”
Despite tight application windows and lingering supply chain issues, Josh Gaddy, Helena Agronomist based in North Carolina, urges soybean farmers to stay the course. What might save time and money this year by cutting out applications could create bigger problems in the future.
“You can’t give up ground to resistant weeds,” says Gaddy. “I have already seen some farmers attempt to cut back on burndown or pre-emergence applications that have been unsuccessful, and these farmers will have to make an extra crop application to try to clean things up.”
Instead, Gaddy and his counterparts are encouraging farmers to scout their fields regularly, make strategic applications, and fine tune their tank mixes. Shane Powers, Helena Agronomist based in Mississippi, says the best way to manage your resources this season is to “do it right the first time.”
“If you can kill it the first time, you won’t have to reach further into your supply for a second application,” says Powers. “Put the right chemistry on the acre to ensure you’re controlling your targeted weeds.”
Powers also recommends pulling water samples and testing water quality prior to spraying with AquaLenz®, Helena’s Advanced Water Analysis service. AquaLenz aligns water quality issues with water conditioner recommendations to maximize the effectiveness of each application. Always check the label for water conditioner and other adjuvant requirements.
As the weeks go by, Helena Agronomists encourage soybean farmers to evaluate nodulation. Nodules should start to appear on soybean roots around V2. Ideally, there will be a good spread across the roots with a handful of nodules on each plant. When cut open, healthy nodules will have a pink color. According to Lee, if nodules are low in number, it could be due to low inoculum in the soil or something inhibiting nodules like low pH or too much nitrogen in the soil.
When considering replanting this season, weigh the agronomics with the economics. According to data from the University of Illinois, soybean stand counts would need to be less than 100,000 plants/acre for replanting to be profitable. Stay tuned for more Bean Wise tips throughout the season. Being Bean Wise means putting the right tools in place at the right time to maximize your soybean crop, and ultimately, your ROI. Contact your local Helena representative to create your plan.