Wow, where has all the fertilizer gone? Here in southeastern Illinois we have had an uninterrupted run of about two weeks. We have had shortages of ammonia, DAP (diammonium phosphate) and potash along with logistics issues of getting product where we need it in a timely manner. Normally, this wouldn’t hamper soybean planting much, but over the past few years, with very high yields of both corn and soybeans, we have encouraged growers to start feeding each crop instead of letting the beans scavenge after the corn. That means many of our bean acres are waiting for both a shot of P (phosphorus) and K (potassium) application before planting.
We have had better luck with making burn down applications on no-till fields, so most of our fields are being planted into clean, weed-free seed beds. This is a most important decision with marestail and we are now seeing some waterhemp emerging in some fields. Our mantra is to start clean and stay clean; we don’t want our growers fighting these weeds that are emerged now all summer.
As of this writing we are really hurting for a rain; our daily evaporation rate is about 0.2 of an inch per day. This really pulls the moisture out of the bare ground quickly and anyone tilling the fields before planting is quickly losing what little moisture they have. As I traveled the area this last week I saw many growers pulling rollers and rolling baskets behind the tillage tool in an effort to seal that soil surface back down and conserve what moisture they have.
Today, I would estimate our planting progress at about 25 to 30% on soybeans in the District. If we get the rain over the weekend that is predicted, with the great weather coming next week I would say all but double crops will be done by May 20th. All in all, a pretty good start to the 2015 crop.