The landscape of double cropping soybeans has been greatly altered this year. Due to the lateness of the timing this year, we are bound to have some issues for small crops even though farmers are encouraged to plant as long as there will be stable rains and favorable conditions for planting. At the moment, we adequate soil moisture that can facilitate late planting as per weatherman’s forecasts.
Soybeans need some three months to grow pods and get its seeds dry. This means that the appearance of frost will necessitate that soybeans to be planted between early July and the start of Aug. this year .In Pennsylvania for instance, the average first frost date map shows that some regions may get frosted around the start of Nov. and hence planting may still go on in such regions. Below is a list of other key factors to consider:
Crop coverage per acre
You can plant a minimum of 180,000 plants and this will ensure that an acre of land will accommodate some 200,000 double spaced soybean crops before 5 July. This crop cover can be further increased to 220,000 for maximum coverage.
Make sure that the rows you plant are narrow with a 7 and 15-inch width being recommended. This will enable the beans to increase in population and allow them sufficient time to grow tall enough to put on pods.
Make sure that you slash down the amount of weeds to the lowest possible levels.
Work with a practical economic goal
Do not set exaggerated goals for the returns you will get out of each acre. On average, you will harvest some 30 bushels from each acre and be able to make some $270 per acre.
Be ready for anything
Get ready with alternatives because frost can still appear early. This means that need to prepare to turn your soy into forage should this happen.
The date of maturity is another factor to consider when it comes to double-spaced soybeans. Based on previous experience which have seen full season crops yielding more than short seasons ones, soybeans that come to full season maturity are still a preferred option because so far there have been no maturity issue or challenge with them. For instance, the 2013 trials in Lancaster produced a commendable 54 bushels per acre with an average of 220,000 crops per acre.
According to an official from Virginia Tech, delay in planting has a negative impact on the maturity of a crop. For instance, if we have a delay in planting for 30 days will lead the maturity of the crop for 10 days. Additionally, it is important to plant a maturity variety that will grow tall enough to before starting to flower because this will contribute to sufficient canopy that enables optimal harvest.
Finally, Penn State agronomist Greg Roth and I are looking at other parameters for double-crop soybeans that might prove useful in the future to further add yield to this late-plant timing. We are revisiting row width, date of planting, growth regulators, seed treatments and other practices to ensure recommendations stay current. Stay tuned for more information as the Mid-Atlantic begins to focus on double-crop timing.