With a downturn in commodity prices, many farmers are wondering what changes they will need to make in 2015 to remain profitable. In recent years there has also been strong interest in managing soybeans more aggressively for higher yields. Are high yield, high management soybeans still an option in today’s economic environment?

To help growers answer these questions and plan for high-yielding soybeans in 2015, Lance Tarochione, agronomist with Monsanto, led an ILSoyAdvisor.com webinar on top soybean management practices.

Watch the webinar below for information on soybean management, tips for high yields, and ways to make soybeans more than a rotational crop for corn.

Key Takeaways:

  • To grow high-yielding soybeans, growers should be willing to try new things and to treat their soybeans with the same management that they do corn.
  • There are six keys to higher soybean yields:
    • Identify issues you have encountered in past seasons and choose the right varieties to keep them from reappearing.
    • Plant a full range of maturities. Latermaturing varieties take advantage of moisture, but full-season beans usually perform better.
    • Plant at the optimum time for your geography, not necessarily after corn is planted.
    • Optimize fertility, gauging soil nutrient levels and applying nutrients as needed.
    • Balance canopy development. Do not overseed, or canopies can become too thick.
    • Minimize stress from insects, disease or lack of nutrients.
  • There are proven strategies to boost yields without increasing costs, including:
    • Plant earlier if you can and your conditions allow. If soil temperatures are above 55 degrees and there is a favorable five- to seven-day forecast, conditions are ideal.
    • Control weeds early on, ideally before they exceed 4 inches tall.
    • Narrow your row spacing to 20 inches or less. This may not be “low cost” if it requires a new planter, but growers should compare initial cost to anticipated yield increases.
    • Plant the best genetics you can and plant at least five different varieties.
    • Use fuller season varieties, but have a range from mid- to late-season as well.
    • Harvest as many acres as possible at or near 13 percent moisture.
    • Lengthen your rotation.
  • There are certain practices that add cost but aren’t proven to increase yields, such as tillage, seeding rates above 140,000/acre, and additional fertility when fertility is not the limiting factor.

For more soybean management tips from Lance Tarochione, follow the Soy CCA Envoys on ILSoyAdvisor.com.

Join us for the next webinar on Thursday, April 23, as Chad Colby with 360 Yield Center discusses the latest information on unmanned aerial systems and their potential to change crop management. One CEU is available for participating CCAs. Register today.

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