Determining an adequate stand of cotton, peanuts or soybeans

Determining an adequate stand of cotton, peanuts or soybeans

Recently featured on Extension Daily.

AUBURN, Ala. — What is an adequate stand? A grower must maintain healthy and uniform stands to increase the chances of a healthy planting season but how does the grower know what an adequate stand is? For peanuts, cotton and soybeans, the answer to that question is similar in some areas and different in others. Good soil moisture and temperature is a good start to the process to achieving adequate stands in row crop production.

Adequate Peanut Stands

Effective factors include for peanut stands include: perfect germination of seed, soil temperature, soil moisture, seedlings diseases, herbicide damage and seed to soil contact. A farmer must know what is being planted at that particular time.

Kris Balkcom at the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences at Auburn University said to make sure seeds are at least 75% germinated.

Soil temperature and soil moisture are important to a peanut stand because if the soil is hot and dry a seed will not germinate properly. Decreased numbers of stand can also occur if the soil is wet and cool.

For maximum germination and adequate stand production, the seed need a good seedbed in the strips of soil with no air pockets.

The two most common types of peanut stands are uniform and erratic. A uniform solid stand has good full rows while an erratic patch of stands are very spread out.

To prevent an erratic group of stands, Balkcom said, “First identify the source of the stand problem so it can be corrected for future planting. Look for a pattern whether it be the soil type, moisture or seed source.”

To ensure maximum yields, it is recommended that farmers plans in single 36 inch rows that are six seeds per foot or in single 30 inch rows that are five seeds per foot.

“The take home message here is that if you are in a high rainfall situation area or in an irrigated scenario the plants have a better chance to overcompensate to over come that skippy stand than in a dry land situation where the plants may not receive the amount of rainfall needed to compensate the skip and make maximum yield potential,” Balkcom said.

Adequate Cotton Stands

When planting and growing cotton, getting an adequate stand is the most crucial component of the cotton season. The soil temperature must be 65 degrees at a depth of four inches for three days with a good forecast.

Along with soil temperature, a grower must maintain good soil moisture – but too much moisture can lead to crusting –, proper seed depth of 0.5 to 1.5 inches, seed placement and seeding rate.

To calculate the final plant stand, pull a tape measure in sections of 10 feet and count viable plants. It is recommended that there be a minimum of 2 plants per foot or as close as possible.

Row Crop Extension Specialist, William Birdsong, is ready for the next planting season.

“I’ve had a lot of calls from different growers and my predictions is that right after this cold front pushes through, we are going to heat up and the planting season is going to be kicked off for South Alabama.”

Adequate Soybean Stands

Soybeans can be resilient to varying plant populations. Some will branch out more or less depending on space. Each soybean plant can take up a 7 to 10 inch radius per plant.

Aside from the yield of the crop, other agronomic considerations can be the cause of low population such as: weed control or harvest ease.

Growers can determine the density of their stands by counting plants in several places down the rows. For 30-inch rows, there should be six plants per foot and for 36-inch rows; there should be seven plants per foot.

To learn more about adequate stands in other row crops, or for other information about row crops in Alabama, visit the Alabama Crops website. For more information on adequate stands of cotton, peanuts or soybeans, contact your county’s Extension agent.

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