Time to Begin Early Spring Crop Scouting

Most soil-borne pathogens strike as soon as the seed begins to take on water; others strike seedlings. Because seeds can germinate and emerge within 3 to 5 days, post-planting is an ideal time to begin scouting crops.

 Start taking field notes now on how well each particular hybrid number is emerging. Observe the uniformity of the stand across the field. There may be certain areas that show poor emergence, while the rest of the field will have a good stand.

You may notice a difference in emergence and stands in early planted fields compared to later planted fields. Soils were warmer in early April than they were during the third week of the month. The magic temperature for corn to germinate is 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal soil temperature for soybean germination is 77 degrees, but it’s usually late May or early June before soils reach those temperatures here. Instead we recommend that farmers wait until soil temperatures are about 60 degrees before planting soybeans.

The combination of warm temperatures with gentle rains that we have received in North Central Iowa this week are just what the seeds in the ground need. Of course, this also makes ideal growing conditions for weeds! 

water hempShortly after emergence is a good time to start looking for weeds. Monitor fields weekly through the growing season for the most effective weed management. Dr. Mike Owen, Associate Chair of Iowa State University’s Agronomy Department and Extension Weed Specialist, recommends using a soil-applied residual herbicide on all acres. He advises farmers to know what herbicides they’re using, what those herbicides control – and do not control – plus the potential for crop injury.

Diversity of tactics is key, says Dr. Owen. Rotating crops, rotating traits and rotating pesticides is the best way to slow down the very natural process whereby pests develop resistance to products that mankind uses to protect crops.

Today’s seed technologies, such as Genuity® SmartStax®, allow you to rotate modes of action on corn ground. Latham soybean customers this spring planted a record number of LibertyLink soybeans. In fact, farmers like Mike Albertsen produced their best yields ever in 2014 using Latham soybeans with LibertyLink technology.

Your 2016 crop plan begins with notes taken throughout the growing season. Then talk with your local Latham representative about designing a crop plan that controls weeds and addresses other challenges you see throughout the growing season like insects and disease. For more information, feel free to contact the Latham office at 1-877-GO-LATHAM (1-877-465-2842).