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Education Helps Soybean Farmers Get It Right

NDSU Extension Service, in partnership with the North Dakota Soybean Council, created a series of meetings called “Getting it Right in Soybean Production” to educate producers about all management aspects of growing soybeans.

Hans Kandel in soybean field
NDSU Extension agronomist Hans Kandel (NDSU Photo)

From 2000 to 2017, the soybean acres harvested in North Dakota increased from 1.85 million to 7.1 million, with a record yield of 41.5 bushels per acre in 2016.

Due to the increased interest in soybean production in North Dakota, especially in the western part of the state, the need to educate producers about all management aspects of growing soybeans is continuous, says Hans Kandel, NDSU Extension agronomist and professor.

To meet this need, the NDSU Extension Service, in partnership with the North Dakota Soybean Council, created a series of meetings called “Getting it Right in Soybean Production.” In 2017, five meetings were conducted at locations throughout the state.

Extension specialists and agents presented research-based educational material to soybean growers on variety selection, diseases, insect control, intensive crop management and soybean economics.

Participants at the 2017 meetings estimated the value of the knowledge they gained, if implemented on their farm, at $11.58 per acre. The 153 attending growers, collectively farming 116,000 soybean acres, estimated the total perceived value of the meeting series at $1.3 million.

In addition to the soybean production meetings, Kandel and a team of NDSU Extension agents and agronomists embarked on a three-year study, starting in 2015, aimed at generating baseline producer data on current soybean practices in North Dakota. Some additional data from 2014 also was included in the survey.

“Information gathered from large numbers of soybean producers will help us determine what production factors might be the most important among producers relative to limiting yields of soybeans,” says Kandel.

Although the survey is ongoing, preliminary data has determined:

  • Growing soybeans after corn or wheat in eastern North Dakota resulted in up to 2.8 bushel per acre higher yields, compared with growing soybeans after soybeans.
  • Chemical seed treatments resulted in higher yields from 2014 to 2016.
  • Planting soybeans before mid-May, if conditions are favorable, may provide higher soybean yields.
  • Seeding at 165,000 to 170,000 seeds per acre provided the highest yields from 2014 to 2016.

“My goal has always been to help soybean producers in North Dakota be the most profitable they can be,” Kandel adds. “By providing relevant and timely information about the management and economics of soybeans, I believe Extension can make a difference.”

For more information:

Hans Kandel, 701-231-8135,

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