I live and farm out in West Central Illinois and the spring got off to a good start for both corn and soybeans.
Soybean planting in our area first started in late April with a few early birds going to the field even before that to plant soybeans. I know of a field in Fulton County near my farm that was planted in mid April and was in the ground through all the cold weather we had. It took 3 weeks for that field to emerge, but today that field looks to have a very good stand. If you plant in good soil conditions using good genetics and seed treatments, even when early it is surprising how well soybeans will survive in the soil today, germinate and emerge three weeks later.
As of mid May I estimate we are approximately 75% planted on soybeans in West Central Illinois. There is always a wide range of planting windows from one producer to the next. Some have been done for 10 days now and others are just getting a good start. On our farm we started planting soybeans April 29th and finished this week on May 13th. The bulk of our soybeans went in the last 2 days of April and the first few days of May.
Early in the planting window growers had many days of ideal planting conditions. But more recently in May there has been more plentiful rain, so good planting days have been harder to come by.
I have seen some issues with heavy residue in no-till fields and noticed a little seedling blight—most likely Pythium—since the soils have been cool. And soybeans have been emerging more slowly due to cooler soil temperatures, but overall early stand establishment appears to be quite good.
There are a lot of field trials going out with Bayer CropScience’s new ILeVO seed treatment for SDS in our area this year. We were ground zero for SDS last year so interest was high with growers in our area. I know some who treated 100% of their soybeans and many others are trying some this year. On my own farm I treated about 40% of my soybeans with ILeVO and have side-by-sides set up in every field with every variety I am planting. Everyone is optimistic about the possibility of finally being able to control SDS. It almost makes me wish for an SDS year like last year to see if ILeVO lives up to its claim.