At least there are some plus temperatures in the forecast this week that weren’t there a few days ago, but precipitation remains in the forecast for just about every day of the next ten. This most likely puts us 10-14 days behind our normal start date of April 23rd – and into cool soil.
Long-term forecast is for a cool, wet summer – a weather pattern normally worth 10 extra bushels to our C3 crops but this year, likely meaning frost is in play on almost all crops we grow. Here are some general considerations. Call or text with questions or make sure our next meeting is planned in the next 10 days.
– Seeding rates must go up – know and use your 1000k/wts. You should be seeding your crops at higher rates this year than you’ve ever seeded them before. Higher seeding rate means less tillering and speeds up maturity without sacrificing yield. Durum, Chickpea and even Lentil and Canola are at risk to an early frost this year. See the Durum specific note at the bottom for more on this.
– JumpStart has more value this year than the average year – cool soils mean less early P availability, and less P means a hampered root development. Anything that gets this crop out of the ground faster is potentially worth 20-30X it’s cost.
– Do not cheap-out on Seed Treatments – whether that means using them instead of not using them or using a better product if you’ve been using lesser ones. Like Jumpstart – it’s simply more valuable this year than the average year. Cool, moist soils are most prone to root disease problems as not only does the disease complex thrive under these conditions but the seed sits there longer and is more susceptible. Light rates or inferior treatments will not last long enough or be strong enough.
– Consider shifting some Chickpea acres into Lentil or better yet Peas – Chickpea remains the top value crop we grow by a significant margin but there is no crop more at risk of a frost this year and no crop that will lose value quicker if it takes a frost. Lentils are not out of the woods for a frost either but are a safer choice and Peas are much safer – each can still put $200 of profit on the table while a 30 bushel crop of #3 Chickpeas could lose $200 per acre.
– Make smart Agronomic decisions through the year – watch for in-season products that delay maturity. We have already made modification to our planned Chickpea fungicide rotation and many Group 2 herbicides can delay maturity by up to 10 days depending on the product and the crop.
– Do not allow temporary leaching to slow down crop development – come in hard and fast with a foliar feed fertility product if we see a leaching of N or S out of the root zone to bridge the time until the roots tap back into it.
– Book fall Glyphosate and Reglone now – We may be putting our Chickpea recipe of Glyphosate to bring in the Reglone stage on more than just Chickpea this year.
– Durum specific seeding rate consideration – we have been moving seeding rate of Durum higher towards 120lb (with average 1000k/wt) over the last number of seasons and seen great results. There is more than just frost-risk for Durum as to why we are recommending another 10-20% increase on rates even if you are already at 2 bushels: 1) Speed-up Maturity and Durum is very grade and yield sensitive to frost, 2)Less tillering tightens up the windows for susceptibility to Ergot, Fusarium and Midge – the latter which is likely to be a major problem this year, 3) Volunteer Canola will be excessive this year and higher crop density means better compensation. Will only be able to spray Durum once and even 99% control can leave a full Canola crop or two in your Durum. If you have never seeded 2bu/ac Durum before, this is the year.
These are some quick considerations off the top of my head. Set up a meeting to make sure we have covered all bases that we can control. We have a little extra time to do so.