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What time frame to plant soybeans or Alfalfa?

These will be different plots for deer.Ive never planted either,so looking at what time to get this seed in the ground.Does Alfalfa die at first frost?I know the soybeans will make a go to late season attractive plot.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Alfalfa in spring is best just after risk of frost is over. I believe I planted most of mine in April. Can also do late summer/fall planting on alfalfa of course. & all of the side notes on alfalfa are in dbltree section…. Get fertility & ph right. Firm seed bed. Don’t get seed too deep. Good seed to soil contact. You can do round up ready if you wanted an easy button. Or u can do a companion crop like oats as long as u make sure to clip or spray clethodim & crop oil later. Etc etc etc.


Beans- for max production- earlier the better. Late April to early may. Just make sure they are protected if they are not in big area. Again- in corn/soybean section…. Little tips like: planting rate, using inoculated & treated seed (especially for first time!!!!), using proper pre & post emergent herbicides, etc.


Both are very doable & relatively simple plantings but like ANYTHING- there’s a fair straight forward checklist to go through to avoid mistakes & insure success.
 

Nrharris

Well-Known Member
I agree with Rob. I actually bought another tractor and planter this winter so we can plant corn and beans at the same time. The past several years a lot of guys have started beans first if the ground is fit but soil is not warm enough for corn. Pretty consistent yield bump.
 

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Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Skip, what’s your checklist?
Checklist on planting Beans?
Most important:
-Plenty of calcium in soil & get PH right. IMO - that impacts the flavor of the beans big time. Can absorb all other nutrients that way as well. When folks say deer don’t eat beans- IMO- lack of calcium & low ph is reason. Then next reason further down is: high tannin/ lower oil content - but most companies offer good hybrid there.
-my soil needs sulfur bad (& few other micros as well) & clearly p&k at sufficient rates. Basically everything on soil test needed. Cart from coop can accomplish pretty much all of this if want easy button. They can mix all this in one cart & u done! …. P&K, Pell lime, sulfur micros: zinc, boron, etc.
-burn down with gly & 2,4-d & a pre-emergent like Zidua pro or any good pre cocktail out there - tons of choices.
-I use e3 beans but the second spraying is going to have gly, enlist 2,4-d & at least one more pre like metolachlor (dual II) or a few others I can list if needed. If doing cover crops or over seeding…. Second spray could be gly & enlist 2,4-d without a pre and then a 3rd spray of just gly if needed.
-inoculated & treated beans
-for AG I think I’m running 150k-ish & often do 15” beans. Really- be just fine anywhere from 7.5 to 30”. Dryer or rougher soils with weed pressure I like narrower rows. Not big deal. Plot beans…. Increase to probably 200k or maybe even 250k if deer graze em. Deer grazing beans needs to be watched close. I’ve lost a lot of plots at to dirt in certain situations….
- I’ve got a problem where deer are trained on where plots are…. More time that goes by like that- I usually have to fence beans now. Not a huge deal. If I have a “4 acre bean plot” - I’ll leave 1 acre unfenced for deer to eat & then that will be a brassica / rye mix area later. Every plot still has a clover area next to it too.
Think that covers the most of it. ;)

Checklist or important details on alfalfa if want it?
 
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Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Alfalfa…
-Id get soil dialed in asap…. PH is big one but so are macros and micros (p&k, boron, zinc, etc). Soil test & correct PH is more important for alfalfa than a lot of other plantings.
-pick a good leafy grazing type alfalfa. If leaf hopper is issue in your area, can get variety tolerant to them. Can also get round up alfalfa if needed.
- I personally prefer a light disc on getting alfalfa established…. Disc, cultipack, seed, cultipack. Seeding can be done by a minimal till drill or spreader or whatever. Generally 18-20 lbs per acre. Can also do burn down & no till drill as long as don’t get too deep. Alfalfa likes a firmer seed bed & tight soil to seed contact. Why i run cultipacker before & after seeding.
-can use oats. Can skip. I personally like oats. Especially if baling alfalfa.
-alfalfa prefers baling. If you are not going to bale…. Cut it with rotary cutter at high RPM before alfalfa or weeds get too thick!!!! Don’t cut so low or let it get so tall that it gets smothered. Keep weed pressure down especially when establishing.
-u usually got one good shot at it or plan on 1 shot. Do it when soil is not too wet, etc.
-say u did “2 acres of alfalfa” or whatever…. I’d still do like 20% of area into clovers. For variety & comparison.

-spray with clethodim & crop oil for grasses. Spray butyrac for broadleaves. Or few other options. Spray for things like army worms if they get in.

All this sounds complex but it’s not bad. It’s a checklist that if followed- have good stand. If skip things - not good. Very doable & after doing it one or 2 times - easy to do.
 

Tmayer13

PMA Member
As others have mentioned, early beans have started to be a real thing. In the AG world farmers are seeing significant yield increases as well as better time utilization by planting some or all of their beans before the corn. Beans have a TON of stored energy so they can sit in colder ground temps and still come out ok. Heck I've seen guys plant beans early April, beans germinate and then we get a cold snow on them and the beans still make 70 bu/ac. The seed that is formulated these days is pretty amazing.
 

Daver

PMA Member
As others have mentioned, early beans have started to be a real thing. In the AG world farmers are seeing significant yield increases as well as better time utilization by planting some or all of their beans before the corn. Beans have a TON of stored energy so they can sit in colder ground temps and still come out ok. Heck I've seen guys plant beans early April, beans germinate and then we get a cold snow on them and the beans still make 70 bu/ac. The seed that is formulated these days is pretty amazing.
Great info on "early" beans, thank you. I have struggled multiple years with beans for various reasons, too many mounts to feed, drought, spraying, etc. But mainly I have fought, and mostly lost, v. drought.

But...I have often planted them "late", mid-June or even later...so I then am walking right in to a drought challenge as the months of July and August tend to be the driest. So...this year...I am going to get them in much earlier and also fence them too.
 

Windwalker

Life Member
I don’t get too shook up about beans in a food plot.The later don’t seem to get grubbed off so bad.Spray cost can be kept to one application. Doesn’t matter if they have high moisture at frost .Been nice catching a late summer-fall rain will make more than early planted sometimes.
 

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