Tune In for Top Tips on KTIC Radio: Turn Down Your Soybean Seeding Rate

Nebraska On-Farm Research Study at my family’s farms on soybean seeding rates

Listen to this week’s Tune In for Top Tips on KTIC Radio

This is Dr. Nathan Mueller, your local agronomist with Nebraska Extension for Dodge and Washington counties. With the start of soybean planting season just two months away, I wanted to start a new radio series this growing season called “Tune In for Top Tips.” I hope to share with you the latest soybean research and agronomic insights into tweaking your soybean management for a little added profit in 2017. Let’s get started on our first Tune In for Top Tips this morning: Turn down your soybean seeding rate, not your radio.

Reduce soybean seeding rates and add profit is how I can best summarize the latest on-farm research results in eastern Nebraska (pages 40-49 in the results book) done by farmers, on their fields, with their equipment. Let’s review the results from five rainfed seeding rate studies in three counties including Washington, Saunders and Richardson in 2016. On our family farm in Washington County, we planted soybeans a 90k, 120k, 150k, and 180k seeds per acre in 15-inch rows on May 15. Final yields in the same order were 76, 77, 77, and 76 bushels per acres.  Three more studies conducted by Saunders County farmers at the same seeding rates recorded yields at 72, 70, 72, and 71 bushels per acre, in the second study at 80, 80, 80, and 82 bushels per acre, and the third study at 74, 76, 75, and 76 bushels per acre.  In all four of these studies, there was no significant difference in yield between the seeding rates. The most profitable seeding rates was either 90 or 120k seeds per acre if you want to nickel and dime the results. In the last study in Richardson County where the seeding rates were 116k, 130k, 160k, and 180k, the farmer did measure a slight yield increase between the lowest and highest seeding rates, but not enough to cover the added seed cost.  The winner again was the lowest seeding rate at 116k. As we look back over 16 on-farm research studies from 2006 to 2016, we consistently have found that any slight yield increases attributed to higher seeding rates hasn’t covered the added seed cost.

Therefore, Tune In for Top Tips this week is turn down your soybean seeding rate, not your radio. You may not feel comfortable turning it down to 120k, but at least turn the dial down below 150k seeds per acre this season. To listen to this radio message again and to get more information, you can also visit our local 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.

Learn more about other studies done by Nebraska farmers through the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network website.

Tune In for Top Tips on KTIC Radio: Turn Down Your Soybean Seeding Rate
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