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What’s Stealing Your Soybean Yields?

July 30, 2013
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor
soybeans
Don't lose a bushel in yoru soybean fields. Missy Bauer, Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist, shares insight.  

Missy Bauer explains what components drive yield and how you can you can achieve high-yielding soybeans.

Soybeans are complex plants with lots of untapped potential. To maximize their yield potential you need to take a full-system approach.

"You have to realize many things work together to create a high-yielding environment for soybeans," says Missy Bauer, Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist. "To have high-yielding soybeans you need to reduce yield-limiting factors."

So what are these yield robbers? It could be any of these 10 elements of the systems approach:

Systems Approach

Here are four factors Bauer highlighted during the 2013 Soybean College in Coldwater, Mich.

Seed Variety

Bauer says farmers don’t tend to spend as much time researching their soybean varieties as much as they do their corn, which can really limit yield. Bauer does variety trials on her test plots and says the results show different varieties can range more than 10 bu. per acre.

Bauer’s advice is to select varieties that have been tested in your area. "Review your field’s history and match the variety to your fields’ needs."

Planting

For many farmers, soybean planting date is determined by when they finish planting corn. While that may be the only option, Bauer says planting date holds real opportunity for yield.

Based on research, Bauer says planting dates contribute to the number of pods per plant and seed size – both of which are key factors in yield.

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