All bad things shall pass, and that includes flooded ground. The sun will come out, the rainwaters will recede, and your soybean crop (hopefully), will have a chance to get planted or stage some sort of a comeback if it’s already in the ground.
But what can soybean farmers do to get the most out of their crop’s potential, given a late start? The United Soybean Board recently made the following six recommendations.
- Take soil samples. Flooding can impact soil composition and depth in certain areas of the field. If the field hasn’t been planted yet, John Wilson, University of Nebraska Extension educator, reminds farmers that even differing field textures can “foul up” planting. “Be prepared to adjust plans accordingly,” he says.
- Keep it clean. Don’t let field residue clog up the works, “literally and physically,” according to University of Wisconsin soybean specialist Shawn Conley.
- Check for slugs. These critters prefer damp soil. Removing residue is a good way to limit their populations. It will also help warm and dry the soil, speeding up plant growth where they have the potential to outgrow some potential hazards, Conley says.
- Plant at correct depth. Don’t plant too deep, Conley says. Between 1” and 1.25” is optimum, he says. Planting deeper keeps young seedlings exposed for a longer period to pathogens in saturated soils.
- Check genetics. Some varieties are more vulnerable to disease. It might be smart to hold off planting into waterlogged soils.
- Add a seed treatment. Prolonged wet soils are likely to higher levels of fungal pathogens.
As Jerry Gulke, president of the Gulke Group noted, given the extreme late date some soybean farmers will be faced with this year, a serious discussion about prevent plant should also be occurring.
“We just don’t need to see the farmers go back into the field and take a risk here,” he says. “I think if they looked at their prevent plant payment and can come out of this with any kind of a breakeven or a net gain and not have the expense, that ought to be a consideration because the risk is still there.”