In-Season Agronomy

Evaluating Leaf Nutrient Tissue Testing and Relation to Soybean Grain Yield

Because soybeans are able to remobilize, or redistribute, nutrients from lower to newly developing nodes, more information is needed to understand which nutrients and in what quantities are made available to new nodes. This project will use tissue testing to gain these insights and help establish more accurate and timely in-season nutrient recommendations to maximize soybean yield.

Project Information

  • How do soybean plants accumulate and remobilize nutrients from leaves to pods?
  • Which nutrients remobilize when, and at what rates?
  • When is the best time during the crop’s growth stages to do tissue testing, and which leaves should be sampled to understand the nutritional needs of the plant?
  • Current methods of in-season tissue testing of targeting the most-recently opened trifoliate may not accurately determine nutrient needs of soybean plants to guide in-season nutrient application decisions.
  • This is because lower nodes on a soybean plant start to remobilize nutrients to developing pods at the same time new nodes and leaves are still emerging at the top of the plant.
  • It is also unclear if different nutrients remobilize at the same rates.
  • An improved understanding of how soybean plants accumulate and remobilize nutrients from their leaves can provide a timeline of soybean nutrient uptake and remobilization. This timeline can help determine when, where, and at what rate different nutrients cycle through the soybean growth stages.
  • Based on these insights, farmers will know when and where on the plant to take tissue samples to more accurately assess nutritional needs of their soybean crop.
  • As a result, they can design a nutrient management plan better aligned to the nutritional needs throughout the soybean growth stages.
  • Juliann Seebauer, Principal Research Specialist, UIUC
  • Jared Fender, Senior Research Specialist, UIUC
  • Gabriela Frigo Fernandes, Master’s Student, UIUC

About the Lead Researchers

Dr. Connor Sible
Postdoctoral Research Associate
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

Dr. Fred Below
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

Are you a farmer or advisor?

If you’re a farmer or advisor, we invite you to take our Soybean Production Concerns Survey linked below to help guide future ISA research efforts. We also encourage you to contact us below with specific production challenge research ideas.

Are you a researcher?

If you’re a researcher interested in working with ISA on a project, we encourage you to contact us with your ideas. The RFP will open in early March. Contact us below to be added to the mailing list for more information.