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Selected Management Factors for Economically Increasing Soybean Yield


The newly revised (January 2019) NDSU Extension circular A1718 provides details of a study conducted by NDSU to examine potential increases in soybean seed yield and profit with selected management practices. The four-year study was conducted at the Carrington Research Extension Center and at sites in Fargo and Prosper to examine soybean response to combinations of row spacing, planting rates and use of special foliar inputs.

The following is a summary of the research:

  • Soybean yield increased with 14-inch versus 28-inch rows, 200,000 versus 150,000 pls/acre planting rate and special foliar inputs. The narrow rows also had higher net revenue than 28-inch rows. However, the low planting rate and no foliar inputs provided higher net revenue after costs of research factors versus the alternative choice for each factor.
  • While several combinations of the three main factors in the study provided high yields, the combination of 14-inch rows and the 150,000 pls/acre planting rate without foliar inputs provided the highest net revenue after costs of research factors.
  • While using pure live seed as a basis for reaching a targeted plant population is recommended, also consider that an additional 10 to 20 percent seedling loss can occur between planting and emergence.
  • Management strategies that reduce the time required from planting to canopy closure will increase yield potential. This study indicated that canopy closure with narrow rows occurred more than a month earlier than with wide rows.


For study details, this circular can be found at the following website:


Greg Endres

Extension Agronomy Specialist

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