Spring may seem a long way off — and given the China trade war, who knows how many soybeans you’ll want to plant — but you probably will want to have your seed picked out for 2019.
Four tips to help you sort through the seed catalogs are:
1. Know what works for your farm. Your farm is unique, and nobody knows it better than you. Your fields have specific soil types, fertility levels, pest susceptibility and crop histories. You know which varieties you’ve used in the past that have worked well and which didn’t. Keep these factors in mind when making seed decisions.
2. Have a backup plan ready. Weather delays can throw a wrench into your plan without warning. Even though you will be placing orders for your preferred varieties over the next few months, have a list of varieties that work well on your farm (but might not be your No. 1 choice) in the back of your mind in case of an unforeseen event.
3. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Sometimes varieties that are advertised as high yielders don’t live up to their name. It happens. It may have been weather; it may have been a disease that was present on your farm that the variety was unusually susceptible to; it may have just been a fluke. Save yourself the pain of what could be an expensive mistake by selecting more than one variety for each crop on your farm.
4. Have a crop plan. A four- to five-year crop plan will keep you thinking about the future. How will this disease or insect impact the next crop? Which inputs will you use to treat it? Will your plan change if prices drop lower or suddenly jump to record highs?
Source: United Soybean Board