NDSU Extension - Griggs County

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March 12

The Extension Connection Column by Jeff Stachler

How to Maximize Soybean Production

Good Day! 

Griggs County Pesticide Recertification will take place on March 18, 2021 starting at 9:00 AM.  To register for this pesticide recertification meeting go to https://tinyurl.com/GriggsPrivate .  If you have questions about registering for this meeting contact the extension office at 701-797-3312 or e-mail Jeff Stachler at jeff.stachler@ndsu.edu.

Starting on March 22, 2021 an in person virtual horticulture meeting series will take place at the County Courthouse and continue on March 29, April 5, and 12, 2021 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.  Please preregister by calling the extension office at 701-797-3312 or e-mailing jeff.stachler@ndsu.edu. 

How can a grower maximize soybean production in Griggs County?

The way to increase soybean yield the greatest is to plant soybeans in early May or earlier.  NDSU research over nine trials shows an eight percent increase in soybean yield by planting in early May or earlier.  Planting early allows the plants to be larger when they start to flower.

The next factor to discuss is soybean planting rate.  It is possible to improve yields by six percent based upon 44 research trials when you plant 170, 000 pure live seeds per acre at a row spacing of 12 to 14-inch rows.  Be sure to take into account the germination rate of the seed.  Therefore, if a seed lot has a 90% germination rate then you actually plant 188,888 seeds per acre to obtain the 170,000 pure live seeds.  The seeding rate for wide (greater than 24 inches) row soybeans should be higher at 190,000 pure live seeds per acre.  Planting too many soybeans can actually decrease yield and increase costs.  The research showed on average there was an eight percent loss of seeds during germination, so a 170,000 pure live seed per acre planting rate means you should end up with about 156,500 plants early in the season.  If soils are prone to crusting and/or a higher germination loss, then you could consider planting a higher seeding rate, however research back in Ohio showed that you could have similar yields with populations at fewer than 100,000 plants per acre. 

Another way to increase soybean yields by six percent based upon 29 research trials is to treat seeds with fungicides.  When purchasing seed treatments be sure you have the correct fungicide and rate applied to the seed for all of the seedling diseases that are possible.

The previous crop to soybean can also have an impact upon soybean yield.  Based upon six research trials, planting soybean after wheat improved soybean yield by five percent compared to planting soybean after soybean.  Planting continuous soybean will build up disease inoculum which can cause yield loss.  Insect pressure may also be higher for some insect species when planting continuous soybean. 

Another factor that can increase soybean yield is the time of herbicide applications.  Eight research trials show that applying preemergence herbicides compared to waiting for the weeds to reach two to four inches tall improved soybean yield by five percent.  With the amount of waterhemp and kochia in the county it is very wise to apply a preemergence herbicide to soybean fields.  For waterhemp, including another residual herbicide at the time of the postemergence treatment will improve waterhemp control. 

Results from thirty-seven research trials show there is a four percent yield increase when planting soybean in a reduced tillage environment compared to conventional tillage.

Planting soybeans in narrow (less than 21 inches) rows compared to wide (greater than 28 inches) rows can improve soybean yield by four percent based upon 24 NDSU research trials. 

Inoculating soybeans with a Rhizobium bacteria can improve soybean yield by two percent based upon 16 NDSU research trials.  This yield increase happened in fields where soybeans had been grown historically.  Double inoculation has not improved soybean yield based upon NDSU research trials.

Broadcast applying phosphorus at planting only increased soybean yield by half of a percent compared to banding the phosphorus away from the seed based upon seven research trials.  NDSU has changed their recommendations for applying phosphorus to soybean.  If the Olson soil test value is eight parts per million or greater, then applying phosphorus is not recommended.

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