Derek's Notes

Soybean stand evaluation

It’s a good time to check your soybean stand. Plant counts are important to see how close you came to your targets. Using the 1000th of an acre method for beans;

– 7 inch spacing measure 74′ 8″
– 15 inch spacing 34′ 10″
– 20 inch spacing 26′ 2″
– 22 inch spacing 23′ 9″‘
– 30 inch spacing 17′ 5″

After you have measured the proper distance, count the number of plants in the measured distance and multiply that number by 1000. This will give you your plants per acre.

Example: on fifteen inch spacing measure 34’ 10″ of a row and if you count 150 plants within that distance multiply 150 by 1000 you get 150,000 plants/ac. Do this in ten different areas of the field to get a good field average.

When doing this, it is also important to look below the soil surface. Dig the plants out of the ground and soak them in a pail of water. After a few minutes try and clean all the mud off the roots gently as not to pull nodules off the roots. Sometime after the first trifoliate has emerged nodules should start to develop. Once they are actively converting nitrogen the inside of the nodules will be pinkish in colour. Nodules will generally develop on the tap root first especially if an on seed inoculant was used. These tap root nodules are very important as its believed they can be up ten times more effective as nodules on the lateral roots.

Soybeans soaking in pail

This soybean plant has excellent tap root nodulation and starting to see some on lateral roots as well. This is from one of my fields that had 1x liquid with extender and 1x peat with no in furrow inoculant the field has had beans two previous times.

Another thing to check for is how the roots are growing which will tell you a lot about things such as how your planter or drill worked, did you plant too deep, too shallow, was it too wet resulting in too much compaction did you roll at the right time or was too much trash a problem. It’s good to do this evaluation so we know what works well and something’s you might change.

For instance this plant again from the same field as previous picture shows that I did have some compaction issues.

20130624-212826.jpg You can see the root grew laterally before going vertical, you may also sometimes see the tap root just below the soil surface is very thick which can result from compaction or planted too deep.This can cause stress on the young plant because it uses much more of its energy to push to the surface. We have all seen how a ,fudge! sorry watching game six and Bruins just scored to go up 2-1 not that I’m a huge hawks fans them winning is the lesser of the two evils, anyways seen how a soybean germinates and emerges the seed basically doubles in size splits and gets pushed back out of the ground that takes a lot of energy. OMG the bruins choke again!

Anyways take this time to evaluate your soybean plant stands, look for nodulation, problems with planting, root rot issues or things you did differently this year that worked out great.

With the rain the last couple days things should be really taking off!

This one is for you Harry, Rick, Randy and all the poor Bruin fans.

Rootless corn syndrome or root rot

The last couple of days I have been to several corn fields and have seen lots of corn “flopped” on the ground. The plants looked healthy. Once we dug the plants out it was obivious that the crown roots had not developed enough to hold the plant up. Also some of the plants had a pinched mesocotyl root leading me to believe that some pathogen such as Pythium had infected the root.

Some growers had mentioned rootless or floppy corn syndrome. I have discussed this with several experienced corn growers and sellers and found that it is very rare and most have never seen much of it before, but after more discussion and searching we feel that it is likely a combination of both.

So what causes this? Well… both are actually very understandable considering the sring we have had. Cool wet soils at planting and then for many days after were the perfect conditions for root rot and damping off. Also after the May long weekend big rain, we have had very little rain and the top part of the soil has dried out making it tough for the crown roots to develop. Planting into wet conditions ( which we didn’t have much of a choice this spring) can sometimes cause compaction which can lead to the seed trench or furrow opening up once the soil dries making it difficult for crown roots to establish.

What now? I have sent corn plants to the U of M for to confirm or rule out root disease so we will have to wait for the results. I will let you know soon. Also we need some rain so the next set of nodal roots can develop and get those plants going again. In either case there is not much as growers we can do. Patience is the word of the day, we wait to see how badly our plant stands will be affected.

This is my first attempt at this blogging thing and if all goes well I will continue udating this way. Hopefully the link below works

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