About 65% of corn and 19% of soybeans have been planted in Wisconsin so far this season, says Kevin Sloane, national technical seed manager, WinField United. The east and northeastern parts of the state, which have heavy clay soils, is even a bit further behind. A rainy spring has made planting difficult, but hopefully the soil will start drying out soon so farmers can get back out and plant.
Late planting has not been too much of a concern up to this point, but the next seven to 10 days will be crucial for decision-making, Sloane says. Some fields that were planted early experienced warm weather and then cool rains, which could potentially cause cold shock and, ultimately, could cause seeds to rot. The newer genetics are doing a good job of counteracting some of that, but it’s still important to do stand evaluations, he notes. Farmers should look for stand evenness and gaps, and assess stand quality. They should note any sidewall compaction and keep that in mind as they move through the season. Sidewall compaction can affect root development, water and nutrient uptake during the growing season, and standability later in the season.
Weed-wise, farmers have been able to get many winter annuals under control. However, fields without a preemergence herbicide application are currently home to giant ragweed, among other troublesome weeds. In cases where a preemergence herbicide was used followed by heavy rains, weed evaluations should be made to see if there are any escapes due to herbicide loss because of the wet conditions, Sloane says. Winter annuals, especially dandelions, are also heavy this year. With late planting, some farmers might need to implement a total postemergence herbicide program. In this case, they will need to get on weeds early and aggressively, while the weeds are small. Working with their agronomists can help farmers ensure thorough weed control, he adds.
Later planting can also mean a greater possibility of European rootworm, Western corn borer and other destructive corn pests. The right seed traits can help farmers stay on top of potential insect problems throughout the season.
Lastly, due to the amount of rain, it is critical that farmers assess their current nitrogen situations and plans for the remainder of the year.