An update on soybean planting season

Published: May. 18, 2020 at 1:22 PM CDT
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Planting season for soybeans has gone well overall throughout east central Nebraska.

"I actually got started in mid to late April, which is quite an accomplishment regarding the past couple of years," producer and Soybean Board member Greg Anderson said. He says flooding in 2019 delayed planting. And, he says getting seed in the ground early is important. "We like to see those seed beans get in the ground, get up, provide green leaves and start to begin to canopy before the longest day of the year," Anderson said. "Because those leaves capture sunlight, and that later translates into yield. So as a rule, the earlier planted soybeans are the highest yielding varieties."

There have been some negatives this spring, like below normal rainfall. "A lot of these soybeans that were planted in late April or even early May are still waiting for a rain to get the seed to germinate, and get the plant up and going," Anderson said. "So on the one hand, you had good planting conditions, soil conditions were excellent in placing that seed in the ground. A lot of the ground that had not been able to be farmed a year ago because it was so wet, worked really well, and we were able to plant everything. However, now it's almost on the flip side where the dry conditions have prevented those seeds from getting up and getting that early start that is so critical to that high yield."

Below normal temperatures have also been a concern for some producers. "The soil hasn't warmed properly to help accelerate that germination," Anderson said. "Cold soils and rather dry soils are a rare thing. Usually you have cold and wet. But by following 10/11 weather, we've seen those temperatures will warm quite nicely into the later part of the month which will really be a benefit."

Farmers are always watching for disease problems. But, there's not much to report right now. "Virtually a majority of all the soybean seeds that go in the ground these days are treated with a fungicide and insecticide. That's made a world of difference, especially in these cool, dry conditions where a lot of disease can be prevalent, especially on the cold side," Anderson said. "The soybean seed that we take out of the bag these days is quite different from even 20 years ago, where we delayed planting until mid-May because of certain limiting factors. Now, we are able to go in almost 30 days earlier and plant the crop with confidence that it's going to be there, germinate, and have a good stand."

Planting season in many cases sets the stage for the rest of the year. "If you are in early, and have good conditions, that's like getting out of the blocks early on a 100-yard dash, you have that good start," Anderson said. "Now we need timely rains from here on out as well as abundant sunshine, to really help make that crop develop."