This post highlights material covered in a breakout session sponsored by BASF at the recent ILSoyAdvisor Field Days. To see other posts in this Field Days recap series, click here

Choosing the right soybean planting date, maturity group, and planting population is like piecing together a puzzle. Because every year is different, it’s important to adjust your pieces each year to find the best fit.

Planting early, in good soil conditions, should be common practice. We’re now learning that these factors interact with maturity groups and planting populations as well. The trick is determining how to best match early planting date with the correct maturity group and population. Based on planting date, there is a “right” combination of complementary factors.

Yield data from BASF has shown that yield will increase when fuller season soybeans are planted early. As the growing season progresses into May and early June, there is less benefit from planting longer season soybeans, but higher populations begin providing more yield. Assess the balance of risk and reward when piecing together your puzzle.

As you plan next year’s planting schedule, align planting date with variety maturity and population. If planting is delayed, consider increasing population while using the varieties already in your storehouse.

BASF crop production specialist A.J. Woodyard works with industry experts and growers across the Midwest leading agronomy research trials. Contact him at or 217-712-6011.

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