Planting soybeans early is a critical component when striving for high yields. By planting beans early, this allows for the plant to capture maximum amounts of sunlight which can help to produce more nodes. More nodes per plant equals more pods per node which equals more yield. However, planting early can be an obstacle in regions like Southern Illinois where soil conditions are often too wet or not fit for planting.
One idea to overcome this obstacle is to plant soybeans with a drone. On March 22nd in Richland County, Illinois, I planted 200,000 seeds per acre by arial seeding into 5 acres of a no-till field. Before the recent cold event, there was a planting population of around 100,000 to 125,000 plants per acre. However, after the frost, the stand could have been reduced to 75,000 plants per acre, but it is still too early to evaluate the final stand.
When planting early beans, consider lowering populations to promote lateral branching. It is important to know and understand which varieties can adapt to lower populations and will promote branching to compensate. In my opinion, shorter statured and wider canopy beans are preferred for this type of management approach. Stay tuned for updates on this early planted soybean plot in Richland County.
Matt Herman is a 2020 graduate of Southern Illinois University and majored in crop, soil, and environmental management with a minor in agribusiness economics. While attending SIU, he conducted undergraduate research on precision nitrogen management. Upon graduation, Matt was employed at Wabash Valley Service Company as a crop specialist where he earned his CCA certification. As a crop specialist, Matt managed growers' acres by recommending seed, chemical, fertilizer, and specialty products. After a year and a half, he decided to follow his passion in the seed industry and took a job with Burrus Seed as the Account Manager for Southeastern IL. Matt and his wife currently reside in Mt. Carmel, IL and farm with his grandfather in Claremont, IL. His passion lies in agronomy, and he thoroughly enjoys working with growers to help them achieve goals and ultimately increase their return on investment. He strives to continue to learn about new products and practices in order to stay up to date with the ever-changing agriculture industry. Matt is a certified commercial aerial applicator where he plans to use new drone technology to research various products on corn, soybean, and wheat acres.
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and government relations efforts, while the membership program, Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) and the Illinois Soybean Growers PAC actively advocates for positive and impactful legislation for farmers at local, state and national levels. ISA upholds the interests of Illinois soybean farmers through promotion, advocacy, research and education with the vision of becoming a trusted partner of Illinois soybean farmers to ensure their profitability now and for future generations.