Ask an Agronomist
Will Last Year's Drought Impact Soybean Production in 2013?
Jan 23, 2013
Question: Is there anything you’d advise me to consider before planting soybeans after last year’s drought?
Answer: Extreme hot, dry conditions like last year can lead to reductions in the soil of bradyrhizobium populations. This microorganism is essential for nitrogen fixation in soybeans. I doubt this will be an issue in most fields that have had soybeans for many years. However, it may be an issue on fields that have had only one or two years of soybeans or have other issues, such as low pH. That said, if you’re planting soybeans after failed corn, there may be quite a bit of residual nitrogen still in the soil profile. That is not a problem; the soybeans will use it. However, excess nitrogen may inhibit nodulation early in the season, thereby potentially reducing soybean production later in the season. If you think that is the case in your fields, non-legumes may be a more efficient option for you. Another issue some farmers saw last season was increased soybean shatter due to the drought and quick drydown. If the drought persists, a bit later planting can help mitigate shattering, all other things being equal. With later planting, soybeans should mature a bit later in the fall and face conditions that are less likely to lead to shattering.
Thanks to Kraig Roozeboom, Kansas State University Extension soybean specialist, for supplying this answer.