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

Maximizing your soybean yields starts with proper crop management. Dr. Fred Below at the University of Illinois has been studying the factors that impact soybean production and ranks them by their impact on yield:

  1. Weather
  2. Fertilizer
  3. Genetics
  4. Foliar protection (insects, diseases)
  5. Seed treatment
  6. Row spacing

Some factors, like weather, are outside the scope of growers’ control, but should always be accounted for. It’s also important to remember that crucial prerequisites for high yield include drainage, weed-free fields, and the right soil conditions—focus your preseason attention on these factors to lay the groundwork for high yields down the road.

Dr. Below’s recommendations include supplying a good base fertility program and focusing on phosphorus. Aim to plant early and at the fullest maturity for your region. Protect leaves from the center 60 to 70 percent of nodes on the plant, as these provide 60 to 70 percent of yield. Apply a complete seed treatment package to protect your investment, and narrow the row spacing down to 15 or 20 inches to maximize use of sunlight.

Incorporate these added practices into your management strategy and add bushels to your final yield.

Lance Tarochione is a technical agronomist with Asgrow/DEKALB, focusing on crop production, research and product development. Contact Lance at or 309-333-6733. 

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