Rotate: The highest soybean yields often are in fields that have been continuous corn, have high yield potential soils and often have plenty of manure.
Proper fertility levels: Soil test: pH 6.5-7, 30-60+ pounds per acre Phosphorous, 200 to 300 pounds per acre K depending on soil type. Adequate drainage is a very important consideration also.
Variety Selection: Varieties that are proven to have above average yield potential while considering defensive characteristics such as Sudden Death Syndrome, Phytophthora Root Rot, Brown Stem Rot, White Mold, Frog Eye Leaf Spot.
Use treated seed. Acceleron seed treatment gives you protection against early season diseases. Upgrade to Acceleron with Poncho/Votivo for protection against bean leaf beetle, nematodes and other spring pests such as seed corn maggot, which is more likely in high amounts of decaying matter, even if tilled. Bean leaf beetle are most likely if you have the first planted beans in the area.
Planting Early: Planting date has more affect on bean yield than any other common farmer practice according to Jim Beuerlein at OSU. Planting date will vary depending on where the farmer is at, but early is better. Plant at approximately 1-inch depth, and assure there is adequate seed-to-soil contact.
Treat the roots right: In no till, use controlled traffic. If performing tillage, do so in a manner that allows downward movement of roots easily through the soil.
120,000: Have 120,000 – 170,000 healthy, uniform, evenly spaced plants per acre for maximum yield potential. Row spacing should be 20-inches or less with uniform depth and soil covering and contact.
Late season water: Rain in late August makes grain. This is crucial for soybean yield to finish the potential that it built earlier in the growing season. Every inch of water produces about 2.5 bushels per acre.
Never have any weeds: Start with a clean seed bed, use a residual herbicide program, and control weeds before reaching 6 inches.
Additional Products: Inoculate with Bradyrhizobia — can improve nitrogen fixation. Spray fungicide with multiple modes of action at R3 growth stage; targeted diseases are frog eye, pod and stem blight, Cercospora, Septoria brown spot. If white mold is a concern, a proper fungicide sprayed at an earlier stage, or spraying Cobra herbicide may help. (Cobra has been observed to suppress white mold by growers and plant pathologists). Spray insecticides if needed.