Don’t wait to seed soybeans: MAFRI

Manitoba soybean growers, in a “normal” year, would consider it best to seed cereals and canola, then take a long weekend off before planting their soybeans — but 2009 is far from “normal,” the province warns.

In south-central and southeastern Manitoba, as of May 25, cereal seeding was anywhere from 10 to 60 per cent complete. Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) recently noted that only 15 per cent of cereals and five per cent of canola were seeded in the soybean-producing Red River Valley as of May 19.

With seeding so far behind, it’s clear “2009 is not a normal year,” MAFRI said. “So for 2009, anytime you can get on the ground without making a lot of wheel tracks (not ruts) after May 21 is a good time to seed soybeans in the Red River Valley.”

According to data from the provincial crop insurance agency, Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp. (MASC), soybean yields in the province’s three main growing regions (south-central, Red River Valley and southeastern) hold their yield potential up to the end of May.

Soybean planting, if delayed into the first week of June in the Red River Valley and southeast, results in yields holding at around 90 per cent, but they drop to 70 per cent in the south central region, MAFRI said.

Such yield levels generally support MASC’s seeding deadlines for those regions, the province said.

Seed shallow

That said, the province also warns that planting soybeans into cold soils (below 10°C) is not recommended; soybeans will take 12 days to emerge at 16°C, but 21 days at 10°C. “If you have to seed into colder than desired soils, seed as shallowly as possible (as soil temperature decreases with depth) with a fungicidal seed treatment,” MAFRI said.

“Waiting to seed until the afternoon when the soil at seeding depth warms up is advised for those wishing to push soybeans in early.”

MAFRI also advised that farmers stick to a maximum speed of five miles per hour when planting, as good seed-to-soil contact and uniform seed depth will still be important.

When planting soybeans toward the end of the MASC deadlines, MAFRI said, farmers should also remember that skimping on seed will decrease yield potential in a delayed-planting situation.

Also, the province also advised farmers to consider using their air seeders, changing to earlier-maturing varieties, or, if it gets too late in June, planting something else.

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