Most growers invest in managing their corn crop, unaware that similar practices can achieve higher yields and profits for soybeans, too. While management matters for soybeans, there isn’t one silver bullet solution. With the right combination of management practices, growers can capture more soybean yield potential.

In the fourth episode of “Management Matters,” Fred Below, professor of plant physiology and crop sciences at University of Illinois, shares tips on how farmers can more effectively manage their soybeans and achieve higher yields and profits.


Key takeaways:

  • Start off strong by selecting the correct varieties, protect them with the right seed treatments and be sure fields have a base level of fertility.
  • Don’t let diseases or insects rob yield potential. An estimated 60 percent of yield comes from the middle portion of the canopy, so continually check that portion for signs of pests or disease. Get scouting tips here.
  • Research trials show that adding foliar protection at the R3 growth stage can increase soybean yield by three to four bushels.
  • Narrow rows are best if you plant late or if you live further north because they allow you to capture more sunlight in a shorter time.
  • Wide rows pay off if you anticipate a dry growing season because there is more soil area between each row, allowing the roots to get adequate water.
  • Fertility is the biggest factor driving soybean yields, but 80 percent of farmers don’t put any fertilizer on their soybeans.
  • Keep in mind that even if you fertilize your corn crop, most of those nutrients are gone by the time you plant soybeans.

Want to learn more? Be sure to read Six Secrets of Soybean Success or, for updates on current research, visit the crop physiology page from the University of Illinois.

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