If there is one thing I have learned from being involved with corn and soybean planting over the past 39 years, it’s the fact that every year is different. Every year brings new challenges and opportunities, but the one constant is change. Learning from each year helps to accept what each new crop brings and helps our decision-making based on past experience. Certainly, 2017 is no exception.
Region 14 (mid-South and Delta) experienced some of everything this spring. From flooding and heavy rains to areas with little rain until recently. Fortunately, all is not lost because we had some corn planting opportunity at the end of March and beginning of April. Much of that corn is starting to tassel, and some of the early hybrids (92–100 day) have actually started pollinating and beginning grain fill. Much of the normal maturity corn (110–118 day) is near tasseling and should be receiving final shots of nitrogen. Many growers are again commenting on Stine® HP Corn® and the fact that these Stine hybrids look very good this year. Flowering seems to be earlier than competitive hybrids, which should help us with cooler nights during grain fill. There continues to be more and more interest in high-population, narrow-row corn. Mississippi State University even has some narrow-row plots this year. Stine’s unique HP Corn hybrids appear to be doing extremely well compared to our many competitors. The key to corn yields now will be to get the last application of nitrogen on at pre-tassel and continue to monitor for foliar disease. One of the drawbacks of a wet spring can be poor root development. Growers also need to monitor those roots and remember that the shorter stature and lower ear placement of HP Corn could have a huge payoff at harvest time.
Soybean planting is widely varied throughout Region 14. Most of central and southern Arkansas and the state of Mississippi are finished with soybean planting. West Tennessee and northeast Arkansas still have a way to go before finishing up due to heavy and consistent rains and some severe flooding. The wheat crop is ready for harvest if it would just dry up so we can get in the field. We are expecting quite a few more LibertyLink® soybeans to be planted behind wheat acres this year. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans increased in market share this year, but demand may be down on wheat acres because of some weed control issues that dicamba has not been able to control and then there is the increased awareness of drift concerns. We are looking forward to new soybean varieties, including Balance™ GT and Enlist E3™. Every year we see more and more concern with glyphosate-resistant pigweeds.
As always, growers should look for yield first to choose varieties for planting. Stine has unique access to all soybean trait technologies and continues to be a leader in creating unique, new soybean genetics right here in the mid-South.