Crop Conditions Improving However 19 Jun 12

Crop conditions getting Better – some replant may be needed by area growers.

Source: David Nicolai, Extension Educator, Crops.

Topsoil moisture supplies declined slightly this past week as daytime high temperatures reached 90° or higher in most locations, across Minnesota, according to the USDA, NASS, Minnesota Field Office. As of June 10, topsoil moisture supplies were rated 85 percent adequate to surplus, compared with 95 percent the previous week. A number of counties in east central Minnesota such as Carver, McLeod, Sibley, Wright and eastern Renville counties however continue to experience high rainfalls and crop damage due to water ponding in low areas of crop fields. The rain was well received in dry areas of the state, while other areas continued to dry out from excess rainfall during the month of May.

Overall eighty-two percent of the corn crop in Minnesota was rated in good to excellent condition with an average height of fourteen inches. Seventy-four percent of soybeans were rated in good to excellent condition with an average height of four inches. The five year average is eight inches for corn and two inches in height at this time of year. First cutting alfalfa harvest was rated seventy-eight percent complete. Alfalfa condition was rated one percent very poor, six percent poor, twenty-four percent fair, fifty-nine percent good and ten percent excellent. This increase in crop growth in 2012 has resulted in part from early planting and an increase in Growing Degree Days (base 50 degrees) since April 30. For example the Olivia area accumulated 591 GGD’s which is 105 above normal while Rosemount accumulated 602 which is 125 above normal as well.

Managing “Ponded or Drown-out” areas in Corn and Soybean fields Replanting of soybeans or soybeans to be planted within corn fields is still possible by mid-June of this year when taking into consideration the following points:

• Growers in south-central and central Minnesota should consider planting soybean maturity groups at least one full maturity group earlier than they normally plant such as a group 1 or group 0 now versus a group 2 maturity they would have planted earlier.

• Consider any herbicide rotation or carry over injury to soybeans from previous soil applied herbicides.

• Have a plan for weed control within the soybeans.

• Farmers who decide to replant ponded areas that were flooded (and where the stand loss justifies replanting on an economic basis) will want to do so with as little tillage as possible.

• In most field situations, intensive tillage does not make sense because of the additional cost and time that it will take as well as the risk of creating cloddy seedbeds that limit seed germination.

• No-till normally makes the most sense. With warm air and soil temperatures during most of June, yield differences between tillage system are even less than they could be with April planting.

• Try to spray burndown herbicides as early as possible. Controlling weeds is essential to improve the evaporation rate at the soil surface, and achieving early weed control is more essential for reduced tillage planting situations in June than in April

• Keep any tillage operations shallow. Deep tillage will only go into wetter soil conditions, and involve more compaction and clod formation risk. June tillage pre-planting operations should never be deeper than 3 inches.

Other options for re-planting those wet spots may include the use of Cover Crops A web-based Cover Crops Decision Tool from the Midwest Cover Crop Council (MCCC) which is available at the MCCC website at lists some of these cover crop planting options. A series of drop-down lists allows the Decision Tool user to get as specific for their county, drainage conditions, and cropping history. Three additional drop-down menus allow the user to choose specific priorities; these priorities are the top outcomes the farmer is hoping to receive from the use of the cover crops including preventative planting. Information sheets can then be printed for each individual cover crop or mixture.

It is always a good practice to visit with your crop insurance agent regarding crop insurance prior to making changes.