This is Nathan Mueller, UNL Cropping Systems Extension Educator in Fremont, NE. Soybean variety selection is the earliest routine management decision you make and one of the most important. Please check our recent article posted at cropwatch.unl.edu about the importance of soybean variety selection on your farm.
Trials in the region show a yield difference of 15 bu/ac among varieties; if your yield potential difference is just half that, it equates to a revenue gain of about $75/ac. Other management factors can make an 8 bu/ac difference such as planting date or weed control, or 5 bu/ac for phosphorus fertility, or even 3 bu/ac for narrow row spacing on average. So, selecting the right variety is as good or better than other management factors at driving higher yield.
When selecting soybean varieties, consider 4 key aspects:
- First, look for a proven yield record. Use your farm, third-party and company data. Referencing multiple years and multiple locations when possible.
- Second, 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.
- Third, use a range of maturities. For example, in east-central Nebraska, where maturity group 3.0 is average, plant varieties ranging from 2.4 to 3.6. Short periods of heat/drought for one or two weeks during August may impact the fuller season more or less than the shorter season variety, depending when or if it occurs.
- Fourth, match up traits with your management and on a field by field basis, such as focusing on lodging or standability in high fertility irrigated fields.
Again, go to cropwch.unl.edu to learn more about the importance of soybean variety selection for improving 2015 soybean yields.
This is Nathan Mueller, UNL Extension Educator in Fremont, NE on KTIC radio.