KTIC Radio Extension Corner: Soybean Variety Selection is a Big Deal

soybean variety difference

Difference in variety performance against SDS in 2015.

This is Dr. Nathan Mueller, your local agronomist for Nebraska Extension. Many of you have been attending seed company plot tours and starting to think about which soybean varieties to pick for the 2016 growing season. Soybean variety selection is the earliest routine management decision you make and one of the most important.

Trials in the region show a yield difference of 15 bu/ac among varieties; even half this difference equates to a revenue difference of about $60/ac. Other management factors (Table 1 below) like weed control can make an 8 bu/ac difference, phosphorus fertility a 5 bu/ac difference, and row spacing a 3 bu/ac difference. So, selecting the right variety is critical to improving farm yield in 2016.

When selecting soybean varieties, consider 4 key aspects this fall:

  1. Look for a proven yield record. Check your farm, third-party (F.I.R.S.T. Soybean Testing) and company data. Referencing multiple years and multiple locations when possible.
  2. Select a disease resistance package that matches the need for each field. If you have a field with a history of Sudden Death Syndrome, soybean cyst nematodes, or other agronomic issues best managed through variety selection, consider this along with yield performance of varieties within trials, especially if the trial did not have these limitations.
  3. Use a range of maturities.  For example, in Dodge and Washington Counties, planting varieties ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 maturity. Short heat waves and dry periods for one or two weeks during August may impact the fuller season variety more or less than the shorter season variety, depending when the stress occurs.
  4. Match up other genetic traits with your management and on a field by field basis, such as focusing on variety standability in high producing fields planted in narrow rows where lodging is a potential issue. Lodging was more problematic this year than most across the area, especially for some varieties.

To watch a short video from Market Journal on variety selection and to listen to this radio message again, please visit our locally-focused website at croptechcafe.org or give me a call at 727-2775. Know your crop, know your tech, know your bottom line. This is Dr. Nathan Mueller, your local agronomist for Nebraska Extension on KTIC radio.

Table 1: Effect of various management factors on soybean yield.
Rank Management Factor Yield (bu/ac) Difference
1 Variety selection* 15
2 Planting date 8
3 Weed control** 8
4 Phosphorus fertility 5
6 Crop rotation 5
5 Row spacing*** 3
6 Seeding rate 1
*Three-year average performance difference among varieties from 2011-2013 in South Dakota State University trials.
** One week delay in weed control on 30-inch rows
***Multi-state study from 2009-2011 funded by the United Soybean Board, led by Seth Naeve, University of Minnesota.Source: CropWatch
KTIC Radio Extension Corner: Soybean Variety Selection is a Big Deal
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