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Soybean Plant Establishment (06/08/17)

Soybean is most commonly planted using a row crop planter, grain drill, or air seeder. Many growers in North Dakota use narrow soybean row spacings to achieve advantages, which include: reduced soil erosion, early crop canopy closure, increased seed yield, and increased harvest efficiency.

Soybean Plant Establishment

Soybean is most commonly planted using a row crop planter, grain drill, or air seeder. Many growers in North Dakota use narrow soybean row spacings to achieve advantages, which include: reduced soil erosion, early crop canopy closure, increased seed yield, and increased harvest efficiency. The suggested target plant density for a soybean field in the area is approximately 150,000 plants per acre regardless of row spacing. Higher planting rates may cause yields to decrease in low rainfall years due to drought stress. In years with adequate rainfall, high plant densities may cause lodging more so than low plant densities. Although producers may use seeding rates targeting the right plant density, many factors influence how many seeds will make it into established plants. For instance, the seed metering system of grain drills must be adjusted carefully to avoid seed damage. Planting deeper than two inches or in a soil with tendencies of crusting may result in poor or slow emergence.

This year we are evaluating how quickly the plant establishment phase takes for a range of seeding rates. Figure 1 indicates there is some variability in the rate of plant established based on seeding rate. In this study, it took about 12 days to get from first plants emerged to maximum plant establishment.

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This research utilized two row spacings, 12 and 24 inches, making the assumption that the distance between the seeds (closer with 24 inch row spacing) may influence how many seeds actually make it into a plant. Figure 2 indicates that initially the wider rows, with narrower spacing between the seeds in the row, had a higher number of plants that germinated till about the 6th day. At the end of the establishment period, the number of seeds that made it into a plant were statistically equal. We will be monitoring the mortality of plants during the season and an additional plant count will be taken again before plots will be harvested for seed yield. We expect that the final plant density will be lower than the number of early season established plants.

kandel.2 

 

Hans Kandel

Extension Agronomist Broadleaf Crops

 

Peder Schmitz and Kory Johnson

Graduate Research Assistants

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