Published on: 20:52PM Dec 07, 2010
Question: What would be the optimum soil condition as far as analysis to grow soybeans? What would you like to see in a soil analysis for maximum yield as far the elements? What do beans respond well to as far as nutrients? I'm in Virginia, and my soil is classified as sandy loam.
Answer: Proper soil pH between 6.5 and 6.8 is the foundation of a successful soybean crop. Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) levels will vary based on lab procedures and extraction methods. Since actual soil test values will be dependent on the laboratory, I will reference categories. Most labs will give you descriptions of very low, low, medium, high, or very high categories along with your actual values. Be sure to touch base with your laboratory to better understand what values are important for your soils. It is ideal to keep your P levels in the medium range. Soybeans are very responsive to K and require good levels. Keep your soil test levels in the medium to high category for potassium. The optimum K level on your soil test will also depend on the Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC). Soybeans are also responsive to manganese. You may want to consider doing some in-season tissue testing to evaluate nutrient levels in the soybean plants in order to fine-tune your fertility program. You can learn more about fertility needs in soybeans at the following links.
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