May 22, 2019

Agronomy Update: Spring Planting Concerns

BY Dairyland Seed
Delayed Planting – Stay the Course; Early Germination/Emergence Concerns

Still waiting to plant………..that’s the situation a lot of growers are in all across the Dairyland Seed footprint.  Others have been able to plant, but are awaiting emergence.

For those who haven’t planted yet – we say stay the course for now.  Stick with your plan for specific hybrids in specific fields – this is your best strategy as of this week.  As we discussed in last week’s notes, don’t change from your planned hybrid maturities until about the first of June.  Hopefully, this week will allow you to begin getting seed in the ground.

For those who have been able to plant, here are a couple of notes:


Call us if we can be of assistance in decision making and early stand establishment investigation.

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Early Evaluation of Crops

Early evaluation of crops is encouraged to detect issues and possibly take corrective action before it’s too late.  Proper diagnosis early allows for logical control measures to avoid unnecessary expense yet protect as much yield as possible.

This growing season, as most growers are experiencing poor planting and growing conditions, it is even more important to evaluate crops at early growth stages.  Many typical issues that arise include compaction, reduced herbicide metabolic processes, insect, disease and the effects of fertility imbalances.  It’s not uncommon to discover a combination of factors that contribute to poor crop response.

The Dairyland Seed Agronomy Team is more than willing to assist you in diagnosing crop issues and finding potential remedies to reduce potential yield loss.

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Thinking Ahead.....Forages

Thinking ahead in a challenging planting season, like this one, can equip forage and cover crop growers with beneficial options for both legume and non-legume acres slated for these purposes.  Whether you plant small grains, beans, or corn in these fields for harvest, make certain the proper forethought is given to ANY herbicide application made in 2019.

Herbicide rotational restrictions can vary immensely and have definitive implications especially in a year like this year.  As our herbicide applications are being pushed later into the season, growers could possibly jeopardize the potential availability for this fall or even next spring or beyond.  Multiple factors play a role in the length of time needed to safely seed forages or cover crops including herbicide rate, soil organic matter content and/or pH, geographic location, or precipitation requirements among many others.

Please, please, please read and follow the most restrictive requirement found on the herbicide labels applied to these acres to help ensure a more successful next crop.

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Alfalfa Repair and Replacement

Mother Nature has delayed many alfalfa stand repair plans this spring. Unless a field has experienced near 100 percent winterkill, it will be worth harvesting first crop before top seeding or terminating the field.

First-crop harvest observations and metrics should provide some clarity in this decision-making process if you have yet to take action. The tolerance for a below average alfalfa stand will vary by operation, but remember that we generally like to see recovery or termination actions if a stand has less than 40 stems per square foot.

Northern Region Sales Manager, Chad Staudinger, has this advice:

  1. To stretch a field for one more year, fill in thin fields and dead spots with Italian ryegrass planted at 15-20 pounds per acre. Expect 2-4 T/Ac/year with high fiber digestibility but below average protein.
  2. To stretch a field more than a year, orchardgrass or fescue can be top seeded at 10-15 pounds per acre. This takes a long time to establish, so do not expect quick results.
  3. For quick forage, seeding a heavy rate of oats or triticale with peas will deliver high tonnage but average feed quality.
  4. Two final points: A) repaired stands never quite reach the productivity of healthy fields, so adjust your expectations accordingly; and B) Also remember that grasses need nitrogen to produce, so that should be included in stand management.

Brian WellerDan RitterBranden FursethRod KingTerry Jones
Brian Weller
Western Region
507.456.3034
Dan Ritter
Central Region
219.863.0583
Branden Furseth
Northern Region
608.513.4265
Rod King
Eastern Region
574.596.6721
Terry Jones
Eastern Region
419.630.3115
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