With several growers finishing planting beans this year ahead of their corn, it's obvious the game has changed. Social media has been busy fueling this change with several people pushing earlier planting dates—almost to the limits. Now we enter 2021. Many areas were dry, field conditions were gorgeous, but what about the cooler temps?! Many growers opted to plant soybeans. Here are some things I saw while walking early planted soybean fields this year.
Keep seeding rates up when going in early. There is just more risk to getting the stand established. Frost, several frosts actually, was a big one this year. Going earlier means more stress from disease, herbicide, and insects. Planting 160k versus 130k might make all the difference to getting a good stand.
Seed to Soil Contact
Early seeds need a good bed. Make sure your planter is set correctly and check it often. Depth is very important to getting the beans into the soil and protected from the elements. Also, watch to prevent trash from being pinned in the seed trench.
I am going to say that successful no-till planting is more difficult in early April. Finding a way to incorporate vertical tillage, strip till or even proper trash wheels are a big benefit. If the soil is 100% covered with 3+ inches of residue, soil temps can struggle without any sunlight.
If you are planting early, a top-notch seed treatment is crucial. Make sure it contains a SDS treatment, like Saltro, and an insecticide. Be sure you know what all your seed is treated with. For instance, our ProTect seed treatments have 3 Modes of Action against Pythium and Phytophthra, 2 of the most common seedling blights. Make sure your soybeans are set up to handle a long germination and emergence period.