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Have your agronomic questions answered by a Farm Journal agronomist. E-mail us directly at TestPlots@FarmJournal.com, and we’ll respond on this blog to provide an interactive dialogue.

What Advice Do You Have For Late Soybean Planting?

Apr 15, 2011

Question: Do you have any advice on how to improve the outcome if I get a late start planting soybeans?

Answer: What we’ve found is that you need to push the seeding rates a little higher if your soybean planting runs late. We have a 15-year study that indicates that is one of your best options. The reason: with late planting the plants will be shorter, so you need more of them to compensate for the late planting. The study also shows that narrowing rows to 20” or less provides some yield insurance in an adverse growing season. With normal planting dates, our study showed that 120,000 viable seeds per acre were sufficient in 10” and 20” rows. That rate was competitive with 160,000 seeds in 30” rows. We’ve also learned that bumping the seeding rate to 200,000 didn’t produce the highest yield in any row width. That simply suggests that, under normal conditions, we cannot push yield by pushing seeding rate to real high levels. However, in 2008, which was unusually wet that spring, and many soybeans weren’t planted until the end of June, planting only 120,000 viable seeds per acre carried a significant yield penalty. The highest yields across all row widths usually occurred with 160,000 seeds per acre. Planting 200,000 viable seeds per acre produced a yield advantage in 30” rows, but it didn’t run away from 160,000.
Here are some considerations if you get into fields later than usual this spring to plant soybeans.
This blog is provided as an interactive way for you to have your questions answered by our Farm Journal Agronomists. E-mail your nitrogen, soil fertility, soil density, planter set-up, scouting, and other questions to: TestPlots@FarmJournal.com.
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