Why are our soybeans so far ahead?

We all know that soybeans are photosensitive plants. In other words, day length is what signals the plant to enter the reproductive growth stages (flowering and setting pods). While this is commonly referred to as ‘daylight sensitivity’, it is the length of darkness during the night hours that signals responses in the soybean plant. Therefore, we talk about soybean flowering around the summer solstice, June 21. However, it can begin sooner.

Soybean maturity can also be affected by planting date and temperature. There is no doubt we are seeing those planting date and temperature affects this year. While day length is still considered the main driving factor causing a shift to reproductive mode in soybeans, it appears that early planting and temperature (they respond to accumulated GDU’s just like corn) have driven our soybean crop to develop very quickly in 2018.    

Now, let me be very clear—this is a good thing!! This photosensitivity will also cause our soybean crop to start maturing at a given time, so the only way to keep soybeans in reproduction longer is to get them to flower earlier. The longer they flower, the more pods and the higher the yield potential. So, because soybeans are flowering earlier, we have more yield potential to protect with fungicide and insecticide products like our own Stratego® YLD, Delaro™ and Leverage® 360.  I am seeing all our soybeans in the R2 growth stage and many are starting R3, and it isn’t even July 4 yet!! 

One last piece of advice—never give up on a soybean crop. Soybeans are truly an amazing crop. I realize that this soybean crop will need rain in July and especially August, so this crop is not “in the bin yet,” but I am excited about how our crop is branching and flowering. My advice is get the sprayer or planes ready and let’s start protecting this crop with fungicides

Eric Ifft



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