WOOSTER, Ohio -- Properly preparing and planting a crop is critical to plants overcoming pests and diseases and producing profitable yields.
As growers prepare their soybean crop, they are encouraged to follow several steps to ensure a season of performance successes:
• Choose varieties that are resistant to diseases. "Growers would have chosen their varieties already for planting, but it's just a reiteration on how important soil-borne diseases are in Ohio, and how much their presence can make or break a crop," said Anne Dorrance, an Ohio State University plant pathologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.
• Use seed treatments to combat diseases, especially in poorly drained fields. "The majority of crop fields in Ohio are on poorly drained soils, or have high proportions of clay that become easily waterlogged," said Dorrance. "Crops planted in these fields can best benefit from seed treatments, especially in no-till situations." Growers should consult their seed dealers for the right seed treatments at the right rates. "Seed treatments will control the spectrum of diseases we see in Ohio, but no one ingredient will control all the pathogens," said Dorrance.
• Plant corn in fields with high soybean cyst nematode (SCN) populations. "Based on Ohio State research surveys, just about every field in Ohio has some level of SCN," said Dorrance. "The higher the populations, the more the pest will impact yields. Taking fields with severe SCN out of soybean rotation will help reduce pest populations." Each year a non-host crop is planted, SCN populations decrease by 50 percent.
• Check the settings of planters and drills for proper seedling depth. Jim Beuerlein, an Ohio State University Extension agronomist, said that ideal planting should be an inch deep, and no deeper than an inch and a half. "If you plant too shallow and it's too dry, the crop won't come out of the ground until you get a good rain. If you plant too deep, diseases may wipe out the plants before they even have a chance to emerge," said Beuerlein. "But the soybean crop is pretty resilient. It really doesn't take much to get it out of the ground."
To learn more about preparing the soybean crop for planting, log on to the Ohio State Agronomic Crops Team Web site at http://agcrops.osu.edu.
The Agronomic Crops Team is a group of Ohio State University Extension educators and Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center researchers who provide practical and timely information and educational opportunities that address the most pressing needs of Ohio's agronomic crop industry. Information is widely distributed through the Crop Observation and Recommendation Network (C.O.R.N.), a free statewide electronic newsletter available on the team's Web site.