Friday, January 30, 2009

2009 NoTill Soybean Strategies

I have been spending much of my time discussing my talk at the NNTC in mid January on no till soybeans.

Over 70% of the US soybean crop is now planted no till yet yields have not risen and even slipped the past few years. Farmers are asking how can I can my yields up and that is a very good question.

Here is an overview of what we discussed:

Let’s break it down into 5 chronological steps.
1. Before planting
2. Planting
3. Before Flower
4. After Flower
5. Maturity

We have very few days left before we start planting so plans should really be in place. Fertilizer, seed, chemicals and equipment should be lined up and ready to go.

Soybeans are planted last not first like corn
Soybeans are often not fertilized and have to scavenge for food after corn
Weeds, RR resistant weeds are a major problem where I live
Equipment, half the no till drills I see have too much wear

Plant more soybeans first or at least earlier
Inoculate the seed
Plant the best seed quality you can find
Planted treated seed
Plant less seed, farmers tend to over seed to overcome the above problems

Before flowering assess your stands and pull tissue tests. See what weeds and insects need to be controlled. Find out how well your fertilizer program worked and add deficient nutrients if possible. Apply your last herbicide as needed.

After flowering yield is set and farmers are hoping for rain. Apply strip trials of fungicide versus insecticide or if you have a high yield situation apply a fungicide to protect that yield. Fungicides won't make a sick crop healthy enough to pay for itself.

At harvest make sure your equipment is top notch and be ready to adjust the combine on the go. Spread the residue past the header(most farmers fail here). Cut at 16% moisture and try to harvest your crop before it goes below 13%(most farmers fail here also).

Take the yield data and store for winter analysis. Build a five year plan to increase yields and efficiencies. This will also improve other crops. The main advantage of GMO soybeans is no herbicide carryover to the next crop. If you can harvest before October 1 here plant a cover crop. Tillage radish is recommended for fields going to corn.

This is my plan. How does it compare to yours?

Ed Winkle

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