Cropping Update

It won’t be long and we’ll see lots of field work going on. Corn and soybean planting is right around the corner! If you are a crops producer, I hope you have our CropWatch website book marked and your check it out on a regular basis. It’s our one stop shop for UNL cropping information. This week a couple of timely article address the use of soybean inoculation and corn seeding rates.

With today’s current economics, I know that many producers are scrutinizing inputs and really focusing on profit. Using products/inputs that might increase soybean yields 2 bushels per acre might have been profitable when soybeans were $14 per bushel, but becomes a stretch at the $9 per bushel.

Nathan Mueller has prepared a timely CropWatch article that addresses when we need soybean insulants and when they may not be needed. At this time of the year, we often think about planting date, seeding rate, and seed treatments, but do you think about inoculants? The risk vs. reward of inoculating soybeans has been discussed for decades. The risk is not lower yields, just whether the inoculant is going to return a profit, even though it is relatively cheap. Check out his update at

A couple more timely topics in this week’s CropWatch edition is a summary of our Nebraska On-Farm Research corn seeding populations and an article by Bob Wright regarding a Michigan State publication that summarizes all commercially available Bt corn hybrids, the insects they control or suppress, refuge requirements for the midwestern U.S. and herbicide tolerance traits. I hope you’ll check these article out!

As you get ready for the upcoming planting season I hope you’ll consider conducting at least one On-Farm Research Study! It’s really easy to do and I’d be glad to assist you with designing the study! Our protocols are available at: If you’re comparing a single product or treatment all you need to do is plant two strips of the treatment and then two strips of the check and repeat this process 6-8 times. By doing that we’ll be able to get good statistically sound data. Email me at or call me at 402-326-8185 and we can visit about a potential study!

Finally before I finish this week’s column I’d like to encourage area irrigators to consider investing in irrigation equipment like ETgages and Watermark Sensors. Check out the Upper Big Blue NRD’s cost share information at: Click on the forms link and then the irrigation scheduling order form.

Information about this equipment is available from our office or our water website. Let me know if I can be of help to you!


About extensionupdate

I'm a UNL Extension Educator located in York Nebrasksa. I work primarily in the area of irrigated cropping systems. Water and nitrogen management are areas of importance so that we maintain water quality and quantity.
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