Planting soybeans in June: What agronomic practices should I adopt?

By Fabio Colet and Laura Lindsey, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2023-16

As planting continues into June, farmers may want to adjust their management practices to maximize soybean yield.

Soybeans planted in June tend to be smaller and have fewer nodes and pods than soybeans planted in April or May. Therefore, the recommendation is to increase the seeding rate when the planting date is delayed. A small-plot field study conducted at Western Agricultural Research Station (WARS) in South Charleston, Clark Co., and Northwest Agricultural Research Station (NWARS), in Custar, Wood Co. for two growing seasons identified the agronomic optimum seeding rate (the seeding rate where soybean yield is maximized). For the first half of June, seeding rates should be between 150,000 to 180,000 seeds/acre. For the second half of June, increase seeding rates to 170,000 to 200,000 seeds/acre.

For soybeans planted in June, the recommendation is to use narrow rows (7.5 to 15-inch row spacings). Soybeans planted in narrow rows tend to out-yield soybeans planted in wider row width (30-inch) because it intercepts more sunlight. Narrow width-rows can also positively influence soybean yield by improving weed control by shading out weeds and helping retain soil moisture.

Relative maturity (RM) plays a role in soybean production. When planting in June, farmers may need to choose a cultivar that will reach physiological maturity before the first killing frost. Choosing varieties with the preferential RM for that planting period will allow plants to grow vegetatively as much as possible before reducing speed of vegetative growth during reproductive stages. This will reflect in the production of nodes, pods, and seeds. The recommended relative maturity ranges are as follows:

In Northern Ohio, an early June planting date from June 1-15 is recommended to have a suitable relative maturity of 3.2-3.8. A planting date of June 15-30 is recommended to have a suitable relative maturity of 3.1-3.5.

In Central Ohio, an early June planting date from June 1-15 is recommended to have a suitable relative maturity of 3.4-4.0. A planting date of June 15-30 is recommended to have a suitable relative maturity of 3.3-3.7.

In Southern Ohio, an early June planting date from June 1-15 is recommended to have a suitable relative maturity of 3.6-4.2. A planting date of June 15-30 is recommended to have a suitable relative maturity of 3.5-3.9.

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