Each year things seem to be coming earlier, choices need to be made even before we have this current crop in the grain bin, much less have it sold. Here are a couple of suggestions as you prepare for the 2016 crop.
1. Focus variety selection on the HISTORIC problems for any given field.
Diseases do not occur in every field, every year. Environment plays a very big role in if and when diseases do develop. Those fields that have a long history of Sclerotinia stem rot, Phytophthora root and stem rot, soybean cyst nematode, brown stem rot, and sudden death syndrome. The inoculum may decline a bit, but it is always there, in wait for the highly susceptible variety and the perfect environment to strike again. As you meet with your seed rep this week at Farm Science Review or in the coming weeks – focus on the varieties that have the best disease resistance package for your farm or particular field. It really is important. This will save you money in lost yield but also in the added costs of going in with fungicide applications later to try and save the yield you hope to get.
2. Don’t plant the same variety in the same field again next year – ESPECIALLY if you had disease this year.
We’ve learned this one the hard way a couple of times in the past. If you have had a disease outbreak of frogeye leaf spot, heavily stunted plants due to very high soybean cyst nematode populations – the best thing to do is to rotate out of soybeans. Wheat and corn make great rotation crops for these situations, especially if your SCN populations are so high that they are reducing plant height (and yield)! For frogeye leaf spot, this pathogen (Cercospora sojina) does overwinter here in Ohio. If you levels of frogeye hit the 6% leaf area affected or higher in the top canopy – it is time to switch to a different variety, move the resistance to frogeye as the main selection factor for variety selection for 2016.