AJ Woodyard, technical crop production specialist at BASF, discusses management strategies for the 2017 soybean season based on research collected at the BASF Midwest Research Farm. Woodyard covers planting date, soybean population, maturity group, seed treatment, foliar fungicides and soybean fertility needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Soybeans are “light harvesters”
    • Soybeans need bright, sunny conditions, especially during pod fill
    • Unlike corn, harvesting enough light is a limiting factor for soybean yield
    • Maximizing photosynthesis and growth rate is most critical from stages R1 to R3
    • Consider strategies to help maximize canopy photosynthesis
  • Managing soybeans today requires new thinking
    • Plant earlier
      • Chilling injury occurs during the first 24 hours of seed imbibing water; it can occur when soil temps dip below 50 degrees F within 24 hours of planting. After 24 hours (osmotic phase) chilling injury is a lower concern
      • Consider secondary pests. Disease and root growth are concerns
      • Seed treatments improve survivability and early vigor
  • What should we watch for in soybeans?
    • Flowering date and summer solstice
    • Canopy closure and summer solstice
    • Count number of nodes
    • Evaluate the health of the trifoliate associated with critical nodes
    • Dig up plants and assess nodules
    • Understand timing of fungicides/plant health
    • Understand potential yield loss
  • Additional thoughts
    • Take risks to earn rewards
    • Strategies for maximizing canopy photosynthesis will lead to increased yields
    • Agronomics + crop management = success
    • As with any crop, it takes environmental cooperation to see record yields

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