Lewis Stearns, an agronomist and farmer in Northwest Ohio, says handling heavy corn residue before planting soybeans is key to getting them planted early. And getting the beans in the ground early is key to higher yields.
“Early-planting for soybeans trumps most everything else in terms of yield benefit,” says Stearns. “You can expect a yield increase of 10 to 20 percent just by planting those soybeans early and in this area, that means mid-April.” Stearns says when the corn residue is still heavy and wet,
even after wintering over, the harder it is to get that seed into the soil in the right position to germinate and grow fast.
“It’s not just the pinning of the seed,” he says, “it’s the moisture retention of the residue. If we can get the pith out of the residue and reduce the weight, we can get a better stand and help the crop toward faster growth right out of the box.” That’s why he’s doing a trial with EXCAVATOR™, a biological from Meristem Crop Performance, as a solution to the early-planting need while also reducing a tillage trip across the field.
“We’ve handled the heavy residue issue before with tillage and trying to get some dirt on top of the stalks, he explains. “But it’s really unnecessary tillage if you could handle it another way. Nobody really wants to be tilling corn stalks,” he smiles. “Especially with the price going up on diesel fuel so much right now.” Ohio Agronomist Looking to EXCAVATOR™ to Help Get Soybeans in the Ground Earlier