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From the Editor

RSS By: Brian Grete, Pro Farmer

Pro Farmer Editor Brian Grete takes time to talk with Pro Farmer Members about some of the key issues in each week's Pro Farmer newsletter.

How much yield penalty for late-planted beans?

Jun 14, 2013

Chip Flory

From The Editor

June 14, 2013

Hello Pro Farmer Members!

Be sure to check the Crop Tour web page. Our crop reporters from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska updated their reports this week!

Remember last year? (Ha! Of course you do...) The corn crop turned out about as we expected after the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, but the bean crop beat our crop estimate. The reason: Bean seed size. A rain in the fourth week of August gave the crop an extra kick and added yield by building a bigger bean.

That was true for the beans you sold... and it's true for the beans you've bought and stuck back in the ground for the 2013 crop. And now that it's late, you should be seeding at an even higher rate and the bigger beans are making the seed a little more costly than in a normal year. It's not a huge increase in costs, but it is another consideration when planting beans this late.

According to data from the University of Minnesota, late-planting of soybeans does carry a significant yield penalty. Beans planted by May 10 have 100% of yield potential. Beans planted on May 20 have about 97% of yield potential. If beans aren't planted until May 30, Minnesota growers are looking at yield potential of about 91% of maximum. Now it starts to get serious - beans not planted until June 10 have yield potential of 82% of maximum. If beans don't get planted until June 20, Minnesota growers would be planting beans with about 70% of yield potential.

Those late-planting yield penalties, however, assume at least average growing conditions. Poor growing conditions can trim even more off the yield potential.

Several PF Members have reported "damping-off" of soybeans this spring. Wet, cool conditions contribute to early seedling death shortly after plants emerge. That, however, isn't a major concern, unless of course a high percentage of the plants are damping off. Bean plants have a remarkable ability to recover and will grow to the space provided. Early planted beans with lots of space will form a lot of nodes and branches to carry a lot of pods.

Beans planted late won't "bush-out" like earlier planted beans and don't have nearly the number of nodes. For those that don't grow beans, nodes are darn important on a bean plant - that's where branches form, but it's also where pods form. The more the nodes on a plant, the greater the opportunity for the plant to form pods. Because late-planted beans don't form as many nodes, agronomists recommend increasing the seeding rate at this time of the year. That gives you a chance to have fewer nodes per plant, but the same number of nodes per acre by having more plants per acre.

That's it for now...

 We can always use more farmers to come on the Midwest Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour to provide much-needed perspective on crop conditions we see while on the road. If you've been thinking about coming on Tour, this is a great year to start! Drop me an e-mail and I'll make sure you get all the info you need to come along this year.

Follow me on Twitter at @ChipFlory

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