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4 Tips for Making the Best of a Late Spring

Hold onto Your Hybrids For Now.

Wondering how to handle this month’s snow-packed and icy soils across much of the Midwest? Here are four tips from Syngenta agronomists about how to optimize the performance of late-planted crops. 

1. Don’t change your hybrid or variety selections – yet.

For corn, Syngenta agronomists advise that growers wait until the last week of May before changing their hybrid selections. Below are some general guidelines from the University of Minnesota for Minnesota farmers.

  • May 25 – 31: Plant hybrids that are 5 to 7 relative maturity units earlier than a full-season hybrid.
  • June 1 – 10: Plant hybrids that are 8 to 15 relative maturity units earlier than a full-season hybrid.
  • June 11 – 15: Plant hybrids that are 15 or more relative maturity units earlier than a full-season hybrid.

For soybeans, growers who may be looking at planting after June 15 should consider varieties that are 0.5 or 1.0 maturity group earlier.

2. Don’t skimp on soybean seed treatments. 

Because cold, wet soils are favorable environments for seedling diseases like Pythium and Phytophthora, a robust fungicide seed treatment is essential.

Syngenta agronomists recommend CruiserMaxx Vibrance Beans, a combination of separately registered products. Syngenta agronomists say this combination not only delivers broad-spectrum protection against damaging early-season diseases and insects, but also supports strong emergence and standability in a variety of soil temperatures. 

3. Evaluate the application flexibility, residual control and crop safety of your herbicide.

While the optimal herbicide application timing for preventing early-season weed competition is preemergence, selecting an herbicide that can be applied at both preemergence and postemergence can help mitigate the negative effects of weather-related application delays. 

Choosing an herbicide with long-lasting residual will help ensure that delays between application and planting won’t result in weed control that will run out too soon. Syngenta agronomists recommend that growers consult with their retailers to ensure their herbicide formulation includes a safener, which provides extra protection for the plant as it emerges and allows for a wider application window.

4. Plan for a robust disease-scouting regimen. 

Crops planted later in the season may be more vulnerable to infection from soil-borne diseases like northern corn leaf blight, gray leaf spot, and white mold – and foliar diseases like frogeye leaf spot and southern rust. Additionally, less-mature plants can be more vulnerable to infection from pathogens that have had time to build population size.

In light of the increased vulnerability to disease that late-planted crops may face, Syngenta agronomists recommend that growers employ a robust scouting plan and monitor disease reports carefully to accommodate timely fungicide applications that can help crops reach full maturity and yield potential. 

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