Problem soybean fields can recover

Corn got off to a rocky but reasonable start this year but soybeans went in at a rougher point as we progressed through the planting season. I am reminded of Purdue University’s Bob Nielsen and his corn article of a couple of years ago about the ugly duckling — ugly corn can turn into a lovely crop. This applies even more so to soybeans. Time after time I talk growers out of replanting a thin soybean field, to be told later how great the crop looks.

While we prefer and generally can expect greater yield with uniform, on time planting of soybeans, they have a fantastic ability to compensate for skips, for variability in emergence and for a generally poor start to the season.

From research we have done on soybean production practices, we know of the soybean plant’s ability to compensate for late planting, for wider rows and low seeding rates. All add up to help us get past this ugly ducking phase and hang on until August rains.

Planting date:

  • While yield is maximized with a planting date by May 10 or so, plants planted into late May and June can easily yield into the mid-40 bushels per acre.
  • Rows out to 20 and even 30 inches can produce yields of 50 and more bushels.
  • Seeding rates of 60,000 to 100,000 seeds per acre often produce nearly the same yield as 150 to 200,000 seeds per acre.
  • Spotty emergence? Pythium, root rots? Ask your seed dealer before next year, what is the fungicide rate? Is it enough for Ohio conditions?

So have faith, low populations and late emergers can still yield reasonably well. In August of 2011, rains gave us great yields from even mid-June planting dates.

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