By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff
As we enter August, Ohio soybean farmers find themselves in various stages of abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions. The Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net 2020 Virtual Crop Tour is asking farmers to evaluate their crops this week, and estimate the yields. Ryan Noggle, a soybean farmer in Paulding County, will be one of the participants on the virtual tour this year.
“I just love growing soybeans,” Noggle said. “It is a crop you can manipulate and it responds to so many different things during the growing season. It is interesting to see the yield difference.”
Noggle, who farms with his father Randy, is part of a multi-generational family farm in southern Paulding County. Noggle Farms, LLC. raises soybeans ranging in maturity from 2.9 up to 3.8.
“This year we started planting soybeans on April 28, and ended on May 6. With the kids being out of school due to the COVID-19, my son Ethan was able to help keep the bean planter rolling for me and planted most of our beans this year. Typically, we will plant our short season maturity beans first, and then progress thru the later season maturities which helps to stagger the harvest,” Noggle said. “This year I planted one field of the 3.8 beans first, then jumped back to the typical order we follow. I want to test if it changes how the beans respond and when they mature how they yield relative to the 2.9 beans planted at the same time.”
Noggle intensively manages his soybeans.
“We will typically apply fungicide and insecticide to our beans, and also will look at foliar fertilizer and micro-nutrients,” Noggle said. “I recently attended a program hosted by Beck’s that talked about soybean planting dates and the duration until canopy and how it impacted the soil temperature in the root zone. The later the planting date would canopy later and allow for a higher soil temperature in the root zone compared to earlier planted soybeans. This higher soil temperature can impact nodulation, and the ability of the plant to fix nitrogen. In these cases, it may be beneficial to foliar apply N to help the beans in a stress environment.”
The Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net 2020 Virtual Crop Tour allows farmers to evaluate their fields, and anonymously submit their yield estimates. For more information and to make submissions, the website: https://www.ocj.com/croptour has been set-up with an instructional video and downloadable forms that can be taken to the field to record the information. The site also has the ability for farmers to enter their data, and submit pictures if they wish. They can also register to win a $500 gift card to Rural King.
The first field of beans Noggle evaluated for the crop tour was planted on April 28. It was a 3.8 maturity bean. They field overall looked excellent with very little insect or disease pressure. (This field had been previously been sprayed with both fungicide and insecticide.) The canopy height was a uniform 3 feet across the field, with node spacing on the bean plants every 1.5 inches. The vast majority of the pods were three-bean pods, with several clusters of three pods, and some with four pods. The plants averaged 50 viable pods per plant, and were at the R5 growth stage with plenty of potential for further pod and bean development if weather conditions cooperate the remainder of the season.
To get a better idea of what the yield might be, Harold Waters, Ohio State University Extension Field Specialist, and Dr. Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension Soybean Specialist, offer the following tips, (which can be found on page 139 in the OSU Extension Corn, Soybean, Wheat and Forages Field Guide, Bulletin 827).
To estimate soybean yield:
- Calculate plants per acre. Count the number of pod-bearing plants in 1/1,000th of an acre. In 15-inch row spacing, count the number of plants in 34 feet, 10 inches of row (or two rows for 17 feet 5 inches).
- Estimate pods per plant. Count the number of pods (containing one or more seeds) from 10 plants selected at random. Divide the total number of pods by 10 to get the average number of pods per plant.
- Estimate the number of seeds per pod. Count the number of seeds from 10 pods selected at random. Generally, the number of seeds per pod is 2.5, but this number can be less in stressful environmental conditions. Divide the total number of seeds by 10 to get the average number of seeds per pod.
- Estimate the number of seeds per pound (seed size), assume that there are 3,000 seeds per pound. If the soybean plants experienced stress, seed size will be reduced, and it will take more seeds to make one pound. Use a seed size estimate of 3,500 seeds per pound if smaller seeds are expected because of late season stress.
Using the above estimates, this formula is used to estimate soybean yield in bushels per acre: bushels per acre = [(plants/1,000th acre) x (pods/plant) x (seeds/pod)] ÷ [(seeds/pound) x 0.06].