The spring of 2019 has been unprecedented with excess rainfall and cool temperatures. This has significantly delayed soybean planting. When does it become necessary to switch to earlier maturing soybean varieties? There has been a trend in modern soybean production to plant early and to use long season varieties to achieve higher yields. This strategy has proven effective when soil conditions allow for early planting, but it’s also changed perceptions of what a “normal” planting date is for soybeans. When soybeans first gained popularity in Ontario over 50 years ago it was considered normal to wait until the May 24th weekend before seeding. This idea stemmed from the fact that soybeans cannot tolerate a killing frost once emerged. Soybeans are also a subtropical species and thrive under warm conditions. It was considered ideal to see soybeans twice in one week. First as seed in the planter, then as emerged seedlings within 7 days of planting. This will only happen under warm soil condi
It was a small group in attendance at the Simcoe breakfast meeting this week. Some may have been busy with field work, but overall things are still moving slowly across the region and may not be moving at all on heavy soils that remain wet. Those in attendance reported that producers are optimistic planting will begin in a big way this coming weekend, or maybe into next week. While we are looking for more heat to move the winter wheat along and dry out fields for planting corn and soybeans, it is a good thing we do not see very high heat in the short-term forecast, which can bake the soil surface and trap moisture below on heavy ground.
Weather patterns have been variable, leading to regional differences in progress on planting and crop growth. Soils continue to remain unfit for field operations in large parts of the province, especially in much of the southwest and parts of eastern Ontario (figure 1). A few pockets have had windows of opportunity to catch up on cultivation, fertilizer spreading, and planting.
For many airblast operators, the spring of 2019 has been very difficult. The frequency and duration of rain events has left limited opportunity for orchard sprays. Even then, the periods between rains are transitions between warm and moist conditions and cold fronts, which makes wind gusty and changeable. These same periods leave wet alleys prone to rutting and compaction, and conditions that favour spraying may also favour pollinator activity.