Virginia Soybeans: Plenty of Time Left to Plant, Don’t Rush into Wet Fields

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

Recent heavy rains have led to temporary flooding of numerous soybean fields throughout Virginia and put us behind with soybean planting .  Only 26% of the crop was planted as of last week.  And it looks as if we will have another bout of rain this weekend.

Although you will be tempted to get back into these fields as soon as possible, I caution you to hold off until the entire field dries to a point where you will not damage the soil, especially around the seed.

Planting into wet soils can compact the soil around the seed, making rapid seedling growth difficult.  For continuous no-till fields, you can also cause some long-term compaction that will not be easily removed without tillage.

I usually advise to wait another half or full day before you think you can get back into the field.  In the long run, it will likely pay off.

When should we get into a big hurry to plant? Planting date research indicates that we usually don’t see a rapid decline in yield until mid-June.  Below is some Virginia research to verify this.

 

https://i2.wp.com/blogs.ext.vt.edu/ag-pest-advisory/files/2018/05/Plant-Date-x-Residue-2010-11.jpg?resize=349%2C224

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Although the below multi-state data is double-crop soybean, it also illustrates the point well.

https://i0.wp.com/blogs.ext.vt.edu/ag-pest-advisory/files/2018/05/DC-Soy-Yield-Response-to-Plant-Date-Multi-State.jpg?resize=350%2C314

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So, you are likely to lower your yield much more by planting too wet than delaying the planting (or re-planting) until the last week of May or the first week of June. Still, only you know your operation. If you still have hundreds, or maybe even thousand acres to go, you may not want to wait too late.


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