Planting soybeans earlier in the season may sound strange and a little risky; however, according to university research, it might not be as ill-advised as one might think. Planting soybeans earlier could contribute to higher yields. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln found yield was highest for early planted soybeans, with a penalty of 1/8 to 1/4 bu/A per day when planting was delayed.
The benefits of planting early
There are several reasons why early soybean planting contributes to higher yields:
- According to Michigan State University Extension, early planting typically produces more nodes on the main stem, increasing the potential for more pods and ultimately more seeds per plant.
- The University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that early soybean planting helps build a canopy that harvests most of the available sunlight, especially during crop stages that are crucial for yield formation.
- The University of Nebraska-Lincoln also states that this larger canopy reduces soil moisture losses due to evaporation by shading the soil surface.
Early planted soybeans do face unique risks, however, including exposure to fungal infections while the soil is still damp and cool. Cold soil temperatures can also slow root development and make soybean stands more susceptible to soil-borne pathogens. This is where planting treated seed can help achieve healthy stands and maximize early season soybean growth.
It’s also important to keep in mind other key considerations when planting soybean seed early. Soil temperatures should be between 48 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but with a seed treatment you can go as low as 46 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s good practice to avoid planting when rain is imminent to reduce soil moisture level, as heavy rain poorly affects soybean germination and emergence. However, some seed treatments offer enhanced germination under tough weather conditions such as cool temperatures. Additionally, be sure to note local recommendations for early soybean planting, as every situation is different.
Using seed treatments to minimize risk
This fall, BASF will offer growers a way to kick-start their growing season earlier and minimize those early plant risks. With its unique four-way disease protection against key soil-borne pathogens, such as Phytophthora, Pythium, Fusarium and Rhizoctonia, Obvius® Plus seed treatment delivers disease control and Plant Health benefits throughout critical early plant development stages.
Helping growers get their soybean crop successfully established earlier in the season, the seed treatment is engineered to provide stress tolerance even in early season planting conditions of cool and damp soil temperatures, resulting in faster emergence and healthier plants. It also enables outstanding early season vigor and plant stands for an average yield gain of 1.5 bu/A.
Another disease that thrives in cool, damp soils is sudden death syndrome (SDS). To combat this disease, which rarely leaves a field, it is often recommended to delay planting; however, delaying planting decreases the potential for a higher yield. With the use of a seed treatment, such as ILeVO® seed treatment, soybean growers can both combat SDS and plant earlier in the season to minimize risk and achieve a potential higher yield.
To optimize the benefit of early planting, it is critical to minimize the risk of damage from disease and increase the plant’s ability to thrive. A seed treatment can combat those hazards and aid soybean plants to become stronger for an overall yield boost come harvest.
To learn more about Obvius Plus seed treatment, talk to your local BASF Representative or visit agproducts.basf.com.
Always read and follow label directions.
Obvius and ILeVO are registered trademarks of BASF.