Soybeans are fairly easy plants to grow. However, to increase your yields, you must develop a management plan throughout the crop cycle. Here are five things you can do to get the most out of your soybean seedlings.
- Choose the right varieties
Other than management skills, variety selection is the most important factor in achieving higher soybean yields. In addition to choosing ultra-high yield varieties, you also need to select a soybean variety that is compatible with your soil conditions and is resistant to pest and disease pressures.
- Plant early
The planting date can have a significant impact on your yield. Early planting allows for more flowering days, therefore increasing the potential for more pods and more seeds per plant. Early planted soybeans also build a larger crop canopy which helps the plant capture more sunlight and reduce evaporation from the soil surface.
Most farmers start planting at the end of April or early May, but the risk of late spring frost could destroy their crops. So, how early is early enough?
One rule of thumb is to plant no sooner than 14 days before the last spring freeze date in your area. For example, if the last spring freeze is predicted to be on May 11, don’t plant before April 28. Since germination and emergence usually take about two weeks, the soybeans will remain safe below the ground.
- Scout often
To prevent losing your soybean to insects and diseases, you will need to scout at least once a week. Scouting is essentially inspecting your crops for pests, diseases, or any other threats that could obstruct crop growth. Doing this often and taking notes as you do will help you react swiftly to any pest and disease problems.
- Control weeds
Weed pressure during the early growing stages, V1 to V3, can have devastating effects on your yield. According to research, a soybean plant can sense weeds growing on the soil surface before it emerges, causing it to change its physiology and reduce its yield potential. Therefore, to get the most out of your soybean seedlings, ensure that you control weeds early on using a two-pass weed program. Going in twice with a herbicide will minimise the number of weeds returned to the soil and reduce weed headaches down the road.
- Use an inoculant
Inoculants or seed treatments don’t necessarily increase yield; instead, they provide protection for early diseases and pests. This protection offers yield stability, allowing farmers to get the most out of their soybean seedlings. There are many quality seed treatments in the market that you should consider. A great example is Preside soybean inoculant.