Soybeans in Manitoba really went through the ringer this year. Growers planted their crop, only to be hit by a drought. Two weeks after planting, many soybean fields weren’t showing signs of emergence yet, causing many growers to hit the panic button.
The beans eventually came up, only to be hit by extremely wet weather late in the season. Many growers couldn’t get into the field until harvest. Snow fell. Panic set in once again.
Despite the difficulties, quality has remained steady — over 90% germination on average, if not 95%.
We’re not seeing high disease levels. If we get samples that come off the field after all the moisture, that could change.
The biggest problem I foresee coming out of all this are lower yields because of the drought conditions earlier on in 2019. I’m also a licensed seed crop inspector and have noticed a lot of the later maturing soybean varieties are taking a longer time to die off. They’re still pretty leafy. We couldn’t inspect one field because it was far too leafy yet — in October.
In other words, it wasn’t the wet spell that came late that will end up causing the biggest problem, but rather what hit early on.
Testing for vigour and germination in the spring will be essential for soybean growers, if not just to give themselves peace of mind. This past spring we had issues with soil temperatures not warming up fast enough. I got panicked phone calls two weeks after planting because seedlings weren’t emerging. A test inevitably showed they had poor vigour, but seedlings would start emerging around the three-week mark. Had they done a vigour test growers could have saved themselves the panic of not seeing them come up.
Disease testing could possibly be in order for many in the spring depending on when the crop came off. They should be checking seed in the bin over the winter — there will be a lot of high moisture seed going into the bin over the fall. If they’re doing a lot of drying they should check germination as well to ensure if didn’t get overheated.
Vigour testing — and seed testing in general — is becoming more necessary because of severity of weather. Test your seed and save yourself some panic come spring