Soybean Planting Considerations

Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2023-12

May is here, and the planting season will speed up with better weather in the coming days/weeks. According to the USDA-NASS report for the week ending 04/23/23, 6% of Ohio’s soybean were planted. Relative to the 5-year average (2% planted), that suggests a quicker start for the same period before.

Early planting dates can bring advantages and disadvantages for both crops. Following the OSU Agronomy Guide recommendations, below is a list of key reminders/considerations for planting season this year:

Soil Temperatures:

Planting soybeans after soil temperatures reach the 50°F mark is recommended. We recommend measuring ½ – 2 inches below the soil surface in the early morning.

Generally, early planting comes with the risk of late spring frost, insect/disease losses, and slug damage. However, timely planting is important to maximize yield. In Ohio, we have measured a 0.5 bu/acre reduction in yield for each day soybeans were planted after the end of April. Similarly, grain yield can decrease to 1.75 bu/acre per day for corn if planted after the end of April.

Planting Depth – Soybean:

Plant soybeans 1 – 1.5 inches deep where tillage practices are being used. If in no-till fields, ¾ – 1 inch deep is recommended. Shallow planting may emerge more quickly, but early planting may have a higher risk of herbicide exposure. Higher risk of losses from soil crusting at greater planting depths if soil crusting is a concern. Check planting depth consistency.

Seeding Rate – Soybean:

For May planting dates, 100,000 – 120,000 plants per acre is recommended as the target plant population in soybean. The seeding rate in soybean is recommended to be ~25% higher than the target plant population. It is recommended to factor in crop value and seed cost to determine the optimal economic seeding rate.

As planting season picks up, we wish the best for everyone. If you have any questions about planting or outside of planting, do not hesitate to contact us. Follow planting and other Agronomic Crop Updates here (C.O.R.N. Newsletter) or visit the Ohio State Agronomy YouTube channel.


OSU Agronomy Guide, 15th edition: Ohio Agronomy Guide

Soybean Research & Information Network for Early Season Soybean Management from the Science for Success Team:

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