The window may be gone for getting corn and cotton in the ground, but there’s still time for soybeans or sorghum.
But the time frame is tight, according to Jami Loecker, crop protection agronomist with Syngenta, and right now the most important consideration is making sure that nothing goes wrong.
For soybeans, that means making sure you have seed treatment on to protect against the pests that thrive in warm, wet weather. And it means paying attention to maturity levels and planting rates, Loecker says.
“The season is a little like planting a double-crop behind wheat,” she says. “However, there are some advantages for a first crop planted late over a double crop. For one thing, you have had the moisture and nutrient depletion that occurs when you are planting a second crop. Without that first crop, you have the full moisture and nutrient profile.”
She says crop protection products, such as seed treatments, herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers take on a special value when the crop is going in late.
“You’ve got to make sure everything is done right,” she says. “You don’t have a time window for replant. If you forgo the seed treatment and then you develop any of those seedling diseases, there’s no crop protection product I can sell you that will help.”
The same goes for grain sorghum being planted now.
“We’re well within the normal time frame,” she says. “It has been planted all the way into the first half of July and there are plenty of shorter maturity varieties. But I would suggest that if you’re planting late you might consider beefing up the seeding rate. The earlier seeded milo has time to develop more tillers. When you plant later in the season, it won’t tiller as well and beefing up the seeding rate can help compensate for that reduction in tillers.”
A big concern for the later planted crops is the danger that the weather will turn hot and dry around flowering time, which will reduce fertility and grain yield, she says.
Loecker adds that she did get a Syngenta demonstration plot of corn in and planted soybeans in the same area in mid-June. “That’s about 30 days later than I would have liked to have them done,” she says. “I am now hoping for a little rain to get herbicide incorporated.”
The good news is that it is looking like prices will improve after all the prevented acres across the corn belt, which makes the cost of those added inputs a little easier to take.
Loecker also says it will be important for farmers to watch the date and monitor their late-planted crops for pests and be aware that season insects will be attacking those crops at an earlier growth stage than many growers are used to. The same goes for diseases, she says, because many diseases can do more harm if they occur in earlier growth stages.
“The idea is to scout and get the right inputs out there at the right time,” she says. “We just have to do the best we can with the cards we’re dealt. We’ll still raise a crop this year.”