Carrington Research Extension Center


| Share

Eight Soybean Production Tips for ‘18


The NDSU Extension Service, with support from the ND Soybean Council, conducted a series of four meetings called ‘Getting-it-Right in Soybean Production’ during January 23-26 for farmers and crop advisers. A major subject area discussed during the event was soybean plant establishment. Soybean plants are generally easy to establish but ‘getting-it right’ will increase profits.

The following is a summary of soybean plant establishment tips:

  • Do your homework when selecting soybean varieties. Choosing the correct variety for each field can give you the highest yield potential of all production management practices.
  • Soybean yield can increase 4-5 percent by following wheat or corn compared to soybean. Threats of yield reduction with continuous soybean in a field include root rots, soybean cyst nematode, and herbicide-resistant weeds.
  • Loss of soil due to erosion, reduced soil moisture, loss of soil productivity, and increased production costs are all reasons to minimize tillage for soybean production. Averaged over 37 NDSU trials, a reduced till system (e.g. strip till, no-till) increased soybean yield by 4 percent compared to production with conventional tillage.
  • Don’t plant soybean in salt-affected soils. Soybean yield will be significantly reduced if soil electrical conductivity (EC) is greater than 1 mmho/cm. For example, ECs of 2 and 3 can reduce yield by 25 and 50 percent, respectively. Soil sample suspect areas and if soil salts are present, do not till and grow a tolerant crop (e.g. barley or hay crop). If soybean are grown on salt-affected soils, money will be lost (direct costs for soybean are approximately $150/acre) and the affected area likely will expand in the field.
  • Plant early, when soil conditions are appropriate and after cool-season crops are in the ground. Soybean yield increased an average of 9 percent with NDSU trials conducted in the southeast quadrant of ND comparing early planting (first week in May or earlier) to planting the last half of May.
  • Establish an early season soybean stand of 150,000 plants/acre. Averaged over 43 NDSU trials, pure live seed (PLS) planting rates ranging from 150,000-175,000/acre had a 6 percent yield advantage compared to 100,000-130,000 PLS/acre.
  • Plant narrow. Over years, yield potential is greater as row spacing narrows. Averaged over 25 NDSU trials, intermediate rows (14-22 inches) resulted in yield 4 percent greater than wide rows.
  • Treat seed with fungicide, especially if anticipating any challenges with establishing an optimum stand (e.g. early planting or field history with root rots). Yield with fungicide-treated seed was 6 percent greater than untreated seed when averaged across 29 NDSU trials.

Greg Endres
Area Extension Specialist / Agronomy

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.