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  • Writer's pictureRachel Stevens

Steps to Reducing Early Season Stress

We all want the best possible start to our growing season and to get our crops off to a great start. That is the foundation of reaching our yield goals. We want uniform emergence, picket fence stands, and healthy, vigorous seedlings. This week we are going through what we prioritize as our top priorities for getting a good stand out of the ground. Read along to see how many of these boxes you already check!

1. Good genetics.

Good genetics is critical in early season development. In fact, each product has an stress emergence rating that shows where it falls on the seedling vigor spectrum. All of our Pioneer hybrids are rated well for normal stand establishment. If they aren’t, they don’t make it to production. This stress emergence rating is the ability of a hybrid to emerge in stressful situations like cold, wet soil conditions. (Important to note, this isn’t a measure of how fast a seedling emerges or how fast it will grow after emergence, but rather, how well certain genetics will do in stressful conditions.) If you have some fields that are poorly drained, it would be worth considering some of our hybrids with average or higher stress emergence ratings of 5-9. Some of our newer products like P0924Q and P1289AM have stress ratings of 6.

2. Seed treatments

Seed treatments are critical in our book. Every box and bag of Pioneer seed we deliver to your farm has a robust set of seed treatment for helping promote early season emergence, protect against disease and insect pressure and ensure everything gets off to a great start.

For soybeans, it is one of our no-brainer recommendations. We recommend every acre of soybeans be treated. This is one of those investments that we have seen pay off time and again and we recommend it 100%. Just think of seed treatment as an insurance policy on each seed. This protection makes sure each seed has a chance to emerge and get its life off to a great start. We’ve written some blog posts about seed treatment that you can check out here to learn more.

3. Field Conditions

This can be one of the hardest things as we start getting close to planters rolling. We have everything ready. Seed is in the shop, planter is tuned up, prescription maps are loaded and we just want to go! But soil temps are still hovering in the mid 40’s and the soil is a bit tacky. It can be so hard to wait! Remember we are playing the long game. What you do today could impact the rest of the growing season. Look for fields you can start with that are lower residue, well drained, and soil temps around 50 degrees. Our long-term forecast is looking really good, so make your priority list, and stay patient!

4. Weather Forecast

Which brings us to our weather forecast. Like I mentioned, after this cold stretch, we should have some smooth sailing ahead. However, if we do have any more cold, wet spells come through, plan to stop the planters a few days ahead. That way we ensure we aren’t imbibing cold, damaging water. So far, everything is looking good for some warm weather in a few days and we’ve got our fingers crossed for a smooth planting season.

None of these points are things you don’t know. But I think they all serve as good reminders as we approach planters in the field and start feeling some of that planting season urgency. We are here to support you with planter checks, early season scouting, monitor assistance and to answer any questions you might have.

If we could leave you with one thing, it is this. What we do now, dictates the success of the rest of the season. Let’s get it right.

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