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2016 Planting Outlook

The 2016 planting season is nearly here and the weather forecast looks promising for a nice spring, says Wade Kent, Beck’s Hybrids field agronomist. If the weather stays nice, he expects spring planting to be off to an early start. That could make for a promising growing season.

“Earlier planting dates trend toward higher yields,” says Kent. With early planting comes the threat of cool, wet weather and potential frosts, however. If you start running the planter sooner than normal, there are a few issues to watch out for this spring.

Seedling diseases
If the weather is cool and wet, Kent stresses the importance of watching for seedling diseases such as Phytophtora and Pythium. Phytophthora can rot seeds prior to emergence. Pythium can rot seeds and seedlings prior to emergence. Both diseases can cause damping-off under wet conditions.

The use of seed treatments should protect against the loss of soybean stand, says Kent. However, if stands are reduced low enough, replanting may be necessary. Early scouting can help you identify these issues.

"The more you scout, the better," says Kent. If there are cold snaps, you'll want to be in the fields identifying any issues, he adds.

Nitrogen
Many areas received significant amounts of rainfall this winter. With that rainfall came worries of nitrogen (N) loss. If you applied N in the fall and followed best management practices, your N should still be safe, says Fabian Fernandez, University of Minnesota soil fertility specialist.

Those best management practices include having waited until the temperature was 50°F. and trending cooler and using an inhibitor with N applications.

“A lot of the N that went out had some type of inhibitor included in the application,” says Kent. “There may have been some N loss, but it wouldn’t have been significant.”

If you’re wondering whether you lost N last fall, there are several soil tests you can use to check, says Kent. “If you’re questioning what’s in the field, pull some samples,” he says.

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