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Neither No-Till Nor Conventional Soybeans 100% Successful So Far

Neither No-Till Nor Conventional Soybeans 100% Successful So Far

Unusual year for both tillage systems, specialists observe.

If you planted soybeans in late May and it didn't rain for a good while, at least part of your crop likely laid in dry dirt. The part in dry dirt didn't com e up. The good news is that soybeans can lay there for a long time and still germinate and establish themselves. The only kicker is that if the soil they're planted into has enough moisture to get germination to start but not enough to finish it, the seedlings may be in trouble.

It's not hard yet to find fields planted conventionally in mid to late May where part of the soybeans came up late, if at all. Size range in mid-June in some fields was from VE, just emerged, to the V4 growth stage.

Slow going- No-till soybeans tended to get off to a slow start this year.

No-till beans, even those planted in late April through mid-May, are off to a slow start, notes Tony Vyn, a Purdue University Extension agronomist. He believes less freeze-and-0thaw cycles through the winter may have reflected itself in June in some of these fields. Soil moisture available to plants is a combination of rainfall, soil texture and soil organic matter working together. Then tillage affects how much of the moisture is retained. Vyn believes soil compaction that normally doesn't affect soybeans as much, especially in years with more freeze-and-thaw cycles, may be part of the explanation for the slow growth in no-till fields early.

In 1988, when the drought was very early, it was a very poor season for no-till soybeans, and no-till corn. But in 19991, when the drought was alter and it rained in August, it was one of the best years ever for no-till soybeans.

Vyn concludes that it's a complicated response of soybeans to tillage and soil conditions this year. What happens and how this season is remembered for both no-till and conventional soybeans will hinge upon what happens from here on out in terms of weather.
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