With Late Spring Here Now, Follow These Expert Tips for Optimal Crop Yields

Spring came more than a little late for much of the country, and since fields were still packed with ice and snow, growers were forced to sow their fields later than usual. Agronomists from Syngenta, a Swiss business that produces seeds and chemicals for growers, recently provided some tips to help farmers maximize their yields despite the late planting.

Stick with the Same Varieties and Hybrids for Now

Though many growers are tempted to swap their corn and soybean varieties in order to accommodate the late start to the season, Syngenta urges to avoid this for now. Growers currently planting corn should continue with traditional full-season hybrids and varieties, but for those waiting until later in the month, there are some other recommendations:

  • Between May 25 and 31, growers should plant hybrids that mature between five and seven units earlier than full-season.
  • Between June 1 and 10, Syngenta says to plant hybrids that mature eight to 15 units earlier than full-season.
  • Between June 11 and 15, growers should plant hybrids that mature 15 or more units earlier than full-season.

Soybean growers, on the other hand, can continue to plant their full-season varieties up until June 15. After this deadline, varieties that mature half a unit to a full unit earlier than full-season varieties are the best bet.

Prepare for Disease

Many growers know that planting crops late in the season comes with risks, but one of the biggest risks is disease. Soil-borne diseases are by far the biggest threat, and things like white mold and northern corn leaf blight are expected to be worse than usual this year. Not only is the soil at risk, but so is the foliage itself. Because plants will be younger than usual, they are more susceptible to these diseases. It’s vital for growers to develop plans to watch for and treat diseases early on – and to be vigilant throughout the growing season.

Be Picky about Herbicide

Herbicides are also important considerations for late planting. Ideally, growers would want to target preemergent weeds early in the season, but since planting occurred late this year, Syngenta has some important advice. The group says that choosing herbicides that can target both preemergence and postemergence are vital during this time of year so that the weather does not cause potentially devastating application delays. Long-lasting residual effects are important, so work with your usual retailer to find the right product.

Treat Your Soybean Seeds

Finally, Syngenta also advises growers to treat their soybean seeds to prevent fungal diseases. Though temperatures are beginning to warm across the country, soils are still cold and wet. Unfortunately, this is the perfect environment for fungus to grow, and failing to treat seeds could lead to significant damage. Some seeds have been pretreated in such a way that they not only resist these fungi, but they also emerge strongly to help with overall crop health.

Though planting is off to a late start this year, farmers don’t have to worry about changing their hybrids just yet. Preparing for disease is important, as is treating soybean seeds or sowing brands that have been pretreated for fungus. Finally, being choosy about your herbicide and choosing the right varieties depending on the day will go a long way toward boosting your yields despite the late season.