Push Bean Yields to the Max

Conduct your own soybean yield contest. Compiled by staff

Published on: Apr 1, 2004

Are you doing the best you can to achieve optimum soybean yields? Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., has some strategies that can help you gain higher yields. All it takes is a little extra management skill.

Based on three years of Pioneer Agronomy Sciences research in soybean management, Pioneer has developed a list of management tips growers can use to help maximize their soybean yields.

"Knowing the production issues of each field, selecting appropriate varieties, managing pests, having adequate fertility and many other factors impact soybean yields," says Jody Gander, Pioneer agronomy research manager. "By following these guidelines, growers can see for themselves how far they can push yields in their own on-farm plots."

Try these tips on a 5- or 10-acre plot of soybeans this year.

  • Choose a field that has not been in soybean production for two or more years (to reduce diseases that build up over time.)
  • Select a productive, well-drained field (to reduce occurrences of Phytophthora root rot, sudden death syndrome (SDS) and other root diseases).
  • Conduct soil tests to determine P, K and lime needs and presence of soybean cyst nematode (SCN).
  • For your soybean seed, consider yield, maturity, standability, disease resistance and other traits important for your specific locality.
  • Use fungicide-treated soybean seed to help ensure full stand establishment. Apply a sterile-carrier soybean inoculant to promote good inoculation.
  • Plant soybeans in 7-inch or 15-inch rows. If white mold may be a problem, use 15-inch rather than 7-inch rows.
  • Plant soybeans the last week of April or first week of May. If SDS has been a serious problem in your field, delay planting until after the first week of May.
  • Scout newly emerged soybeans for bean leaf beetle (BLB) feeding and treat if needed to prevent stand and yield reduction. Scout for BLB throughout the season.
  • Control weeds early to prevent competition with the soybean crop. Consider a fall herbicide application if winter or spring annual weeds are often a problem.
  • Scout for soybean aphids and treat if necessary. Treatments applied between mid-July and early August have been most effective in research studies.
  • Closely monitor soybean drying for a timely harvest. To avoid shatter losses, combine soybeans the first time seed moisture drops below 13-14%.
  • Be sure combine is carefully adjusted and operated to avoid threshing losses.