Agronomy: Soybean Planting Date Trials 2015

Soybean planting date has been a heavily debated topic over the last several years. A common misconception is that timely soybean planting is not nearly as important as timely corn planting. Growers typically avoid planting soybeans early due to fears of cold soils, frost, seedling diseases, bean leaf beetles and risk of sudden death syndrome (SDS). These factors were once a legitimate reason for growers to keep the soybean planter in the shed, however, new seed treatment technologies and varietal advancement have mitigated a lot of these risks.

Seed treatments generally contain a fungicide and insecticide combination which helps protect against seedling diseases and early bean leaf beetle feeding. And often the fungicide treatment includes 2 or 3 modes of action to broaden pathogen control. There are even seed treatments on the market to ward off SDS. Newer soybean varieties have also displayed better emergence and increased SDS tolerance.

Throughout central Illinois, current research suggests that soybeans should be planted from the last week of April through the first week of May. This early window allows for:
• Greater number of main stem nodes/pods
• Earlier flowering
• Longer reproductive period
• Shorter plants and less lodging
• Earlier harvest

All of these factors equate to higher yields and easier harvesting. Common sense still applies to soybean planting and growers should not “mud in” their soybeans just because the calendar says so.

For the last several years, BRANDT® has conducted soybean planting date trials at their research farm located in Pleasant Plains, Illinois. The attached graph of the 2015 trial shows the soybean yields of several different planting dates. These yields validate the theory and importance of “earlier” planted soybeans. But just not too early like some growers do with corn.


Jack Hardwick



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