Purdue research suggests lowering soybean seeding rates will not impact yield. In today’s Better Farming report, research shows that fewer plants may actually yield more. Purdue’s agronomy research by Dr. Shawn Casteel defies the conventional wisdom that planting more soybean seeds will increase yield. Over 3 years’ worth of data shows that planting fewer seeds does not reduce production. Casteel says having fewer plants in a field will mean each plant will yield more, “By the time soybean plants reach the V2 stage, they have already made the decision to branch. So they will make up for the fewer brothers and sisters that are out there in the field.” He added the increased number of branches will make up for the yield from fewer plants.
In a year when producers are trying to reduce production costs, planting less is an attractive option. Casteel says a thinner stand in the spring will look good at harvest, “You can have a few as 80,000 plants per acre at harvest and still have 98% yield potential.”
During our video conversation, Dr. Jim Mintert, from the Center for Commercial Agriculture, said that another key to reducing soybean production costs while not impacting yield is to approach soybean planting like we approach corn planting, “We have had a tendency to think about corn first and soybeans second. We need to give soybeans the same kind of management attention that we give to corn.” He added this would include considering seeding rate, using a planter rather than a drill, assessing field conditions with respect to seeding rate, and fine tuning the planting equipment. He said those kind of details are critical to increasing soybean yields without increasing production costs.
Check out the complete Better Farming video report at our web site, and watch for a new Better Farming report, to be released next week. The HAT Better Farming reports are made possible by Indiana soybean checkoff dollars through the Indiana Soybean Alliance.