University of Missouri Extension soybean specialist Bill Wiebold recently shared his thoughts on how a few management practices can potentially add a little extra yield to late-planted soybean this season.
In general, yield depends on the amount of captured sunlight. Late-planted soybean are at a disadvantage, according to Wiebold, because daylight periods shorten during seed filling. The length of the seed-filling period is shorter, and the plants are typically smaller with fewer nodes. For this reason, producers who shift their focus to captured sunlight may be able to improve yield, says Wiebold.
Ideally, producers should plant in narrow rows to allow plants to capture available sunlight sooner during the shortened growing season.
Wiebold tested row width and planting date in a two-year experiment recently in central Missouri. Through his research, he learned that yields improved in 15-inch rows, as opposed to 30-inch rows, later in the season. Specifically, yields improved 8 percent in soybean planted in mid-May. They rose 14 percent when planted in 15-inch rows in the third week of June.
Wiebold recommends increasing seeding rates in later-planted soybean. He has found that there is almost no yield increase in fields planted in early May with more than 120,000 plants per acre. However, he recommends a stand density of at least 150,000 plants per acre in late-planted soybean.
In addition, Wiebold stresses the need for patience to avoid long-term damage to fields. Producers should always carefully monitor their soil conditions ahead of planting.
More information on planting soybean can be found by visiting the University of Missouri Extension website at https://extension2.missouri.edu.