In this month’s Better Farming reports, we have been focusing on improving soybean yields without increasing production costs. Based on his research, Purdue agronomy professor Shawn Casteel says planting soybeans earlier will increase yields, “The difference between planting in early May and Memorial Day is 4 – 8 bushels and, in some cases, as much as a 10 bushel advantage.”
In addition, Casteel says narrow row soybeans will also yield better, “Out 15 inch rows or less are going to produce as much as a15% yield advantage over 30 inch rows.” He says most of this advantage comes from closing the row before we begin flowering. He added the new saying for soybeans should be green to the eye by the 4th of July, “What I am driving at is that we need to have that row closed by early July. If we plant in a timely manner, we will be closing the row and beginning to flower.” He said that will set up the plant well for the reproductive phase coming in August.
Casteel admits this year in particular, with corn planting running behind, it may be harder than ever to get soybeans planted early in May. But he says, for those who can accomplish this, it will lead to higher yields with little increase in cost.