End of season irrigation decisions for corn and soybeans

Virtual Breakfast participants on Aug. 24 will learn to identify when corn and soybeans no longer benefit from adequate water, and the irrigation scheduling methods to maximize the crop without wasting resources.

A soybean field reaching maturity.
Soybeans that are nearing maturity, but still benefiting from adequate soil moisture. Photo by Lyndon Kelley, MSU Extension.

It has been an interesting season for most irrigators in Michigan with the staggered emergence and delayed maturity. Up until now, most of the irrigation benefit came from irrigation applications during June and early July. Making sure the crop has adequate moisture to finish up the season can be a little challenging with the wide variety of maturity exhibited at this point. For the Aug. 24, 2023, edition of the Michigan State University Extension Field Crops Virtual Breakfast Series, Younsuk Dong, MSU biosystems and agricultural engineering professor and MSU Extension irrigation specialist, will show final development stages of corn and soybeans that can benefit from irrigation when rainfall is short. He will also outline a weather-based irrigation scheduling system that saves water and energy yet maximizes yield and profit.

An irrigator sits in the middle of a corn field.
In corn, an irrigated field should be maintained at greater than 50% soil moisture until the milk line disappears and the black layer forms on corn kernel. Photo by Lyndon Kelley, MSU Extension.

Following Dong’s presentation, Michigan’s state climatologist Jeff Andresen will provide a much-anticipated weekly weather summary and forecast.

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The Michigan State University Extension Field Crops Virtual Breakfast series will run every Thursday from March 30 through Sept. 21, 7 – 8 a.m. EDT live via Zoom. Farmers, agribusiness personnel and others interested in agriculture can interact with MSU Extension specialists and educators to get their questions answered. Michigan pesticide applicators can earn enough restricted use pesticide (RUP) credits during the season to recertify their credential. One RUP credit (1A, 1B, Comm or Private Core) and one continuing education unit (CEU) for Certified Crop Advisors (CCA) are available with each live session.

Each week features a 15-minute presentation on a timely topic from a MSU Extension specialist or educator followed by a 15-minute weather summary and forecast by MSU Extension state climatologist Jeff Andresen. Participants then receive information to apply for credits and can leave or stay for a Q&A session. In addition to the scheduled speakers, other MSU field crops specialists and educators are frequently part of the call and available to answer questions.

Participating is easy and free! You can join the live meeting via Zoom using a computer, tablet, mobile device or regular phone line. If you are new to Zoom, simply download the Zoom app and you will be ready to join online every week to see visuals shared by presenters. A phone-in option is also available for the audio portion only.

Participants must use a one-time signup to receive an email notification with instructions for joining the Virtual Breakfast as well as weekly reminders. Registrants can opt out at any time.

Sign up to receive Virtual Breakfast Zoom information

If you cannot join a live session, you can view the recorded version at any time. However, only the live session will be eligible for RUP and CCA credits. Recordings will be closed-captioned and available on the Field Crops Virtual Breakfast website and the MSU Extension Field Crops Team social media platforms: Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, Apple Podcasts and Twitter.

If you are unable to sign up online, call the Lapeer County MSU Extension office at 810-667-0341.

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