Chet Chaney says 2021 has been a yr of ups and downs for Arkansas producers. Whereas many growers are seeing file yields this harvest, state averages will more than likely be down general. That’s primarily due to uncooperative climate, notably a as soon as in a century rain occasion that destroyed hundreds of acres of crops at a essential level within the growing season. The heavy flooding was adopted by a drought that solely added insult to harm for many growers.
“Crops planted between about April 24 – May 2 were the hardest hit,” mentioned Chaney, a technical agronomist with Dekalb/Asgrow. “Those heavy rains seemed to hit at a really critical time for those plantings and then the weather turned off hot and dry. We saw corn rolling up and looking droughty despite all the rainfall we had received.”
It was most undoubtedly an uncommon yr. Along with the June floods, Arkansas growers noticed one other spring of unfavorable planting circumstances, heavy insect stress, an enormous outbreak of Southern Rust in corn, and aggravation brought on by inflated gas and fertilizer prices, in addition to delays in receiving components and inputs. As Chaney appears again on 2021, he says growers can study from what labored and what didn’t as they put together for 2022.
Lock down planting choices
After a moist growing season and late harvest, some growers could also be shopping for seed for subsequent yr later than standard. And within the South, it’s by no means uncommon for some growers to be uncertain of their crop combine as late as Valentine’s Day. Chaney mentioned he doesn’t anticipate any wild issues with seed provide however says it’s all the time good to get with a dependable retailer as quickly as doable. Even when growers are uncertain of crop combine for the next yr, Chaney suggests getting some seed booked based mostly on historic acreages.
“This is a good time for seed orders,” Chaney mentioned. “It’s important to lock down those better products. It’s not so much a supply chain issue — we always try to have a good supply — but a lot of the hot ones can get away from us.”
Chaney provides that he is very assured within the efficiency of Dekalb’s prime 10 corn hybrids for the Midsouth, however he cautions growers as they make their seed choice to not rely too closely on one selection or maturity group.
“I’ll often hear from growers who say a certain hybrid was good last year, ‘but this year it was my very best.’ The reason is we see different environments in different years, so it’s always important to spread out your risk,” Chaney mentioned.
Fall fertilizer and area work
With fertilizer costs at their highest in years, many producers could be trying to save the place they’ll in the case of N, P and Okay functions. Lowering fall and winter functions may help, however Chaney cautions towards going too low.
“I’m not big on putting too much nitrogen out there early. Fifty to 100 lbs/a is fine. For one, you may not get to plant corn and have to switch to soybeans, then you’ve just wasted your money. Also, what does it do here in March and April? It pours rain. The more nitrogen you have out there early the more chance you have to lose it,” he mentioned.
“But you do not want zero nitrogen,” he added, “because some years you just can’t get back in the field soon enough. You don’t want to see V7 corn with high-yield potential that’s yellow and hurting and hungry. That’s costing us a lot of bushels. So, I want something out there.”
“I’ve also seen research that we’re losing some of our P and K work in the fall, but you have to remember, when we harvest these good yields, like 250+ bu/a of corn or 100+ bu/a of soybeans, we’re hauling a lot of P and K to the dryer, and it’s got to be replaced.”
Soil testing is one of the best ways to know the precise nutrient ranges in your fields and what you want for subsequent yr. Precision agriculture platforms equivalent to Local weather FieldView also can help growers as they map nutrient wants throughout fields.
Even with a later harvest, Chaney hopes producers prioritize fall area work.
“Firm seed beds make a big difference for corn (as well as soybeans and cotton). Even if we have to re-hip in the spring, I’ve got a firm bed to start with,” Chaney mentioned.
“Our guys are not just farmers, but civil engineers,” Chaney mentioned. “They’re moving water on and off a field from February through harvest. This year was a reminder just how important drainage is. Any work we can get done in the fall, bedding up ground and getting a nice firm bed before spring is huge.”
Correct planting timing
As Chaney appears forward to subsequent season, he’s simply hopeful spring climate will get again to “normal.”
“The last three years have been really tough,” Chaney mentioned as he recalled the current development of cool, wet springs. “It would be nice to have weather conditions like 2012 again where we had most of the crop planted in March, but as far as things we can control, we need to make sure that ground is dry enough before planting, and be sure to watch out for sidewall compaction on the soil.”
“Our hybrids have no idea what day it is on the calendar, but they do have a pretty good thermometer, so watch that 3 – 5-day forecast. We can plant corn later than most growers think,” Chaney mentioned.
“If you just can’t stand it and have to get out there and plant something, soybeans can take colder temperatures a little better than corn,” Chaney added. “Chilling injury is real on both, let’s not get carried away, but we don’t see as great of a yield drop off in soybeans as with corn.”
“A lot of corn yield is determined the day the planter leaves the field.”