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Serving: IN

Cold, Wet and Crusty: the Battle Cry of Spring

Cold, Wet and Crusty: the Battle Cry of Spring
Spring weather is never predictable but some things are inevitable.

Just about the time the ground dries out enough to get back in the field a front moves in.  And work comes to a halt again.

Lots of progress was being made here in Indiana once a dry spell broke a few weeks ago, then the skies opened up. Rain can cause multiple issues: no field work and the concern over what is has done to recently planted fields.

"Germinating and emerging crops are lacking heat units right now," says Warren McDonald, Seed Representative of Gray's Seed, Inc. The soil is staying cold without the sun and warmer temperatures.

Planting and rain: Look over this field just after a heavy rain. Running a light tillage pass or the 'wait and see' method are both options, but making the right decision is always a tough call.

McDonald pointed out that when checking for germination and emergence, consider seed to soil contact, if that is good enough to allow the bean to do its job. Sometimes trying to help will only damage that contact and create another type of issue.  Breaking that seed to soil contact with light tillage can hinder the growth.  Soybeans aren't wimps – they are capable of breaking through some tough conditions.

When checking fields that you feel are having trouble, look for seed to soil contact and while some soils appear crusted, check how deep the crust actually is.

"Soybeans are capable of breaking through a crust a half inch or less," McDonald says.   Also be able to recognize the difference between tight soil and a crust. While both have issues, a tight soil is less damaging than a crust.

Brian Scott, farmer in north central Indiana, did run his rotary hoe over one field so far this year. "They were struggling to come up and a few had snapped their necks," he said.

"Sometimes you're darned if you do and darned if you don't."

That seems to be true during most of the spring. Replants sometimes come down to the old saying: hind sight is 20/20.  Check with your seed representative. A second opinion never hurts.

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