Manage Field Variability in Soybean Crops

October 2, 2018 12:00 PM

Holly Thrasher, Technical Seed Manager, WinField United



Wouldn’t it be great if each of your fields had a consistent soil type? It would make things like seed selection so much easier. Unfortunately, there aren’t many fields where soil texture is completely uniform from fence row to fence row. Field variability is a common issue on farms, and it can make purchasing the optimal soybean seed for a particular soil type tricky.

But what if there were a way to make field variability work in your favor? To even the playing field, so to speak, by pairing one variety that has a particular strength with another variety that has a completely different but complementary one?

CROPLAN® branded WinPak® varieties, a combination of two different types of soybeans, can answer that question. These unique combinations of both offensive and defensive varieties provide an exceptional level of stability throughout the field, working together to increase yield potential on tough acres while maintaining yield in higher-producing areas.

Choosing the right agronomic package
A number of factors go into the seed selection process that results in these premium soybean pairings. We select maturities carefully so that the two varieties have a consistent drydown in the field. This helps eliminate problems at harvest. After selecting for the appropriate maturities, we then choose seed that will be complementary in terms of agronomic features. These include tolerance to diseases such as sudden death syndrome (SDS), white mold, frogeye leaf spot or target spot; tolerance to insects such as soybean cyst nematode; and tolerance to environmental factors such as heat and drought. Attributes such as standability and yield potential are also critical components in a high-quality agronomic package.

We consistently ask our retail partners if our WinPak varieties are meeting their needs or if there are any gaps in our lineup that we need to fill, because we have the flexibility to create premium pairings for specific geographies.

Managing soil variability
Soybean plants are hardy and adapt to a wide range of soils, but different varieties will have a better chance of success in specific field environments. While soybean variety A is projected to do well on your fine and medium-textured soils, for example, other parts of the field may have pockets of coarse-textured soil. In these tougher areas, that variety may not do as well as variety B, which is projected to have a strong performance on coarser soils. A combination of the two varieties works to improve the overall average yield potential of the entire field.

Proven performance
A premium pairing of soybean seed varieties can provide a consistent boost to yield potential that is otherwise hard to find. In fact, 2016–2017 data from regional Answer Plot® trials show WinPak varieties consistently outperformed their individual component varieties by 2.1 bushels per acre. Think about the rooting structure of various soybean seeds. One may have a penetrating root while another may have a lateral root system. When those two varieties are combined, the resulting root mass will be formidable, providing more potential for nutrient and moisture uptake. That, combined with the strong disease package and the improved standability that we see in a WinPak variety compared to individual components, help raise yield potential even more on a large farm field than in a smaller Answer Plot test site.

More top-end yield potential
Even if you are a farmer whose fields are high yielding and fairly consistent in soil type, you can benefit from planting a premium soybean combination like WinPak varieties. Why? Because it offers the potential to punch up yield at the end of the season. But it also provides defense on areas of the field that might be a bit more challenging.

If you have a field with high pH, for example, your soybeans may be more prone to iron deficiency chlorosis (IDC). As a result, planting a variety with strong IDC tolerance — even if it lacks some top-end yield potential — means it is going to thrive in those areas of the field with higher pH, which is likely not the entire field. If that variety is paired with a soybean that can provide more top-end yield potential but has a lower IDC score, those varieties will compensate for each other. So while the soybean with strong IDC tolerance is going to do better in tough areas of the field and bring up the yield average there, the strong top-end soybean will improve your yield potential in the better parts of the field. 

Latest traits
We have added a number of WinPak varieties that include the newest Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® trait technology. And we maintain and refine combinations that contain established seed technologies such as LibertyLink® and Roundup Ready 2 Yield®. We listen to our retailers when they tell us what their farmers are requesting based on what they are seeing in the field and do our best to provide them with new combinations.

WinPak varieties can help you capitalize on your top-end yield potential in the better areas of the field and offer solid defense in other areas where you have greater variability in soil type. They can also help balance the variability inherent in other factors that affect overall yield potential, such as weather challenges. Talk with your local trusted advisor today about how WinPak varieties can help you get a jump on your soybean strategy for the 2019 season.

© 2018 WinField United. Answer Plot®, CROPLAN®, WinField® and WinPak® are trademarks of WinField United.   

LibertyLink® is a trademark of Bayer CropScience.

Roundup Ready 2 Yield® and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC.


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