Soybean planting has already begun in some parts of the country, but for those soybean growers still waiting for their fields to dry out and warm up, it’s a good time to get some last-minute, expert planting advice on the best ways to increase your odds of high yields.
Steve Naeve, extension soybean specialist with the University of Minnesota, had the following tips to share about soybean planting best practices.
1. Choose the best soybean varieties to plant. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is vital to a soybean grower’s success. And it is not as easy as it may seem. Don’t take a seed company’s word for it that their soybean seeds are the best – look for third-party yield data. There can be crop yield variations of as much as 40% between the best soybean varieties and the duds, so choosing carefully is a must.
2. Correct your deficient soils now. If any of your fields have tested low in fertility, now is the time to do something about it. Usually, soybeans can make use of the residual phosphorus and potassium in the soil from a previous corn crop, but if that option is not available to you, find another way to fertilize the soil. One big mistake to avoid? Using nitrogen on soybeans. Nitrogen has not been proven to increase soybean yields at all.
3. Plant your soybeans as early as possible. Of course, it is better to delay planting if soil conditions are not favorable. If soils are extremely dry – or even if cold or wet weather is predicted – waiting is the better choice. But the very second that conditions are right, get those soybeans planted.
4. Plant your soybeans in narrow rows. It’s been shown that soybeans planted in rows narrower than 30 inches wide produce higher yields. In fact, there is a 5% yield increase for every 10 inches the rows are reduced by, down to 10 inch wide rows. If white mold is an issue in your fields, you can still take advantage of this trick – just manage the population carefully.
5. Don’t rely on a herbicide program that’s post-emergence only. It is important to utilize herbicides with diverse modes of action in order to effectively combat weeds. Include pre-emergence herbicides in your program to increase the overall effectiveness of your weed control strategy.
BONUS TIP: And one last tip for farmers entering soybean planting season: Be safe! Spring planting season means long hours spent working outdoors after a winter that kept many of us indoors more than we would have liked. Play it safe as you get back into the groove of things by avoiding risks and putting preventative safety measures in place whenever possible.
Soybean planting season may be hectic, but there is still time to tweak your strategy before things get going. By implementing these 5 tips – and one bonus tip – you can make the most of the season, and increase your crop yield potential as much as possible.
(Source – http://www.agarmour.com/#!5-Essential-Tips-For-Planting-Soybeans/cx9v/E8E1385E-F040-446E-B7DC-1F91C2E242B5)