Editor’s note: The following was written by Allie Arp, Iowa Soybean Association research communications specialist, for the ISA On-Farm Network.
Agronomy experts urge farmers to be patient with the onslaught of rain in recent weeks and its planting delays.
While many farm news sources have lamented the information, the more important issues are what affects will it have, what could happen throughout the season, and most importantly, what can farmers do about it?
The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) asked experts how farmers should respond to the latest weather trends.
For farmers who haven’t gotten in the field yet, multiple experts say not to rush when it comes to planting.
“Be patient and allow the soils to dry sufficiently before planting,” said Scott Nelson, ISA On-Farm Network director. “Planting when the soils are not fit results in sidewall compaction and other problems with stand establishment.”
This sentiment is echoed by Iowa State University Extension field pathologist Alison Robertson, who encourages farmers to not rush into fields. When seed bed conditions are poor, the risk of seedling diseases and stand loss increases.
According to experts, farmers who got in the field before the rains should proceed with caution and pay close attention to their plant stand.
“Even if a farmer used a seed treatment, he should still get out and take stand counts,” said Robertson. “Research from the lab has shown that cool, wet conditions 48 to 96 hours after planting may increase the risk of seedling disease.”
Daren Mueller, Iowa Extension plant pathologist, recommends farmers carefully scout fields to determine if replanting is needed, and encourages them to reach out to experts for help in making their decision.
Disease was one of the main issues cited by experts for farmers to worry about midseason based on recent weather.
“If seeds were planted early, this may be setting up for sudden death syndrome (SDS) and white mold,” said Mueller. “But these diseases need the right conditions during the season too.”
Robertson said if above average precipitation continues throughout the growing season it could cause an SDS issue.
Rootless corn syndrome could also be a possibility for farmers who planted into wet conditions, according to Nelson.
It may be early but some farmers are already wondering how a late planting date or continued rain will affect their yields this fall. All of the experts say it’s too early to anticipate the worst.
“Soybeans have a remarkable ability to compensate,” Robertson said. “In areas with a low stand count, yields may be just as good or even better than areas where the stand count is good. If the wet spring continues into summer and fall, then yes, farmers may be concerned, especially if their fields have a history of SDS.”
Mueller said there hasn’t been any weather that has damaged yield potential yet. Especially with this pattern of weather expected to continue, yield potential won’t be any different.
Nelson adds that farmers should not consider changing the maturity or varieties of their hybrids at this time.
Nematologist and Iowa State professor Greg Tylka wants to assure farmers that a wet spring won’t directly affect Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) pressure. SCN will remain dormant in soils, even water-logged soils, until soybean roots are available.
Late planting may mean less overall SCN pressure because a shorter growing season will mean fewer turns of the life cycles (generations) of the pathogen.
Regardless of whether or not farmers have gotten in the field yet, experts say they can still have a great year.
“There is still time to raise excellent crops,” Nelson said. “Farmers should relax and be patient.”