This is Dr. Nathan Mueller, your local agronomist for Nebraska Extension. It is that time of year again to consider planting soybeans. Nebraska research shows that for every day after May 1st, we lose ½ bu/ac per day of yield potential. That equates to a 7.5 bu/ac loss in yield potential by the middle of May.
All that being said, the best way question to ask yourself is how can I finish planting soybeans sooner to maximize yield potential? Meaning, planting soybeans in to cold or to wet of conditions is never a great idea.
Let’s answer 3 questions to help you realize that yield potential of early planted soybeans:
- How important is it to use a fungicide and insecticide seed treatment? It can be very important. Cool temperatures and wet soils increase seed exposure to pathogens. Also, bean leaf beetles like to feed on early emerging soybeans. During feeding they can transmit the bean pod mottle virus and lay eggs so the larva can feed on your soybean roots.
- Should you adjust your seeding rate? Research clearly shows higher soybean plant populations are achieved by using a fungicide and insecticide seed treatment. So, let the 10 to 12 dollars seed treatment do its job. Also, Nebraska On-Farm Research has regularly shown we can lower seeding rates without reducing yield in most cases.
- How deep should I plant? Nebraska research shows that regardless of planting date, an inch in three/quarters helps maximize yield. Soybean seeds do require 50% more water than corn to initiate germination, so planting into moisture is important.
- Should I plant a fuller-season variety? It is always best to plant high performing varieties based trials and needed agronomic traits, but lean towards slightly fuller-season varieties for earlier planted fields.
To learn more about maximizing soybean yields, call me at 727-2775 or visit our local website at croptechcafe.org. Know your crop, know your tech, know your bottom line. This is Dr. Nathan Mueller, your local agronomist for Nebraska Extension on KTIC radio.
This extension corner was adapted from this weeks Crop Watch article on Soybean Planting Tips for Optimal Yield. Additional information and links to the research can found in that article.