Midwest farmers anticipate the return of spring. Excitement surrounds moving farm machinery and working the land.
Planting is top-of-mind, especially for crop specialists. An Iowa-based technical agronomist offers his suggestions for the upcoming crop season.
Matt Nelson, Channel technical agronomist for southwest Iowa, suggests planting soybeans early. Nelson says, “Early soybeans are a good idea,” based on tumultuous weather of springs past.
“It’s paid off the last few years, in terms of helping you harvest corn once we get to fall. In general, my advice to growers has been: ‘Prepare to go early if the weather is fit in mid-April. For growers in southern Iowa, it’s been one of the best windows to plant,” Nelson said.
Early maturities allow farmers to plant beans sooner. However, “Planting out-of-zone soybeans involves risk,” according to Nelson.
“The biggest issues (are) at harvest time,” Nelson said. “Growers are planting earlier soybean varieties to harvest them early and harvest corn in a better fashion. But if you have weather delays and are a few weeks late in getting to those soybeans, a lot of times we start to see head loss and beans getting picked at an eight- or nine-percent moisture versus a more optimal 12- to 13-percent moisture. If you plant beans early, you need to be prepared to take them out early. If the weather doesn’t allow for that, that’s a risk you have to manage.”
Nelson recommends having a backup plan, in case things do not go as planned.