It’s one of the earliest springs anyone can remember. Steve Johnsen, an agronomist for Monsanto in southeast Nebraska, says when he ran the numbers this week on heat unit accumulation for a plot near Bruning, they were about double the 30-year average.
“From the planting date to until the 17th of May, we were sitting at 316 GDDs accumulated versus 162 (average)—and that’s not uncommon across the majority of Nebraska,” Johnsen says.
“We are definitely further along—some would say two weeks, some would say three weeks.”
Johnsen says the extremely early spring is going to present a whole different set of challenges to farmers this year, especially with insects. He says bean leaf beetles are already coming on strong, with defoliation being the immediate concern—but he says they can also create problems down the road.
“They do vector some later season bean pod mottle virus, as well as later generations—they’ll be laying eggs here in maybe a couple of weeks or less—and that’s going to extend the generations that could affect us later on during pod fill,” Johnsen says.
Johnsen adds this week’s warm and windy weather has created stress conditions in many fields, forcing many farmers to start up their pivot irrigation systems much earlier than they normally would.