We went from needing a little rain to foster germination to wondering when we’ll get back in the fields. What a difference one weather system makes! Most areas received a nice 1- to 2 inches of rain, but isolated pockets received well over 4 or 5 inches with flooding and chances of more rain. Before entering fields again with planting equipment, take some time to check the fields that we have already planted for the possibility of soil crusting. Wet soil at planting – or even heavy rainfalls post-planting – can cause a crusted layer to form that may delay or prevent seedling emergence. Without enough residue on the surface to soften the impact of the falling raindrop heavy rains will pack the top of the soils and cause uneven emergence. Soybean hypocotyls can easily break as they push through the crust, which may result in significant stand reductions and lower yield potential. Click here to check out a good article by Iowa State University on soil crusting.
Lately it seems like the word “wind” is an acronym for “weather” in North Dakota! Several days of high winds are drying out the topsoil and causing erosion on fields that were left vulnerable due to previous cropping history or excessive field work. Keep weather conditions in mind when you’re planning field preparations.
Corn planting is progressing rapidly, and some growers are starting to plant soybeans this week. Monitor your planting depth on the soybeans and corn to make sure they are planted at an adequate depth to reach soil moisture without sacrificing emergence due to planting too deep. Click here for a good article by the Extension Service on planting depth.
Temperatures are actually average or higher than average for a change with chances of reaching near 80 towards the end of the week! It finally feels like spring here, and field work has begun. Soil moistures are favorable for good seedbed preparation, and with the breezy afternoons, most fields will be ready by this weekend.
More than one grower has asked me if it’s too early to plant soybeans. Many growers are considering planting soybeans if those fields are ready to be worked. I tend to agree with their logic of keeping the seeders and planters rolling. Latham Hi-Tech Seeds recommends waiting to plant soybeans until soil temperatures are consistently 55 degrees, and I want to emphasize the importance of seed treatments when planting in these soils.