Soybean On-Farm Studies In 2012 Point To Early Planting, Narrow Rows

The UNL research projects were conducted in O'Neill, Lexington, David City and Platte Center.

Published on: Feb 4, 2013

Planting soybeans early and in narrow rows are two management practices that consistently boost soybeans yields in Nebraska, according to results of UNL studies conducted at four sites last year. The on-farm research locations were the same four sites where Soybean Management Field Days were held in 2012. Those sites were near O'Neill, David City, Lexington and Platte Center.

During a series of meetings in January of this year, UNL specialists reviewed research findings.

"Nebraska is a unique state," says Keith Glewen, UNL Extension educator in Saunders County. "Our easternmost soybean field is near the Missouri River, and if you look at our westernmost soybean field, you will see a lot of territory between the two. There is a great difference in elevation, growing degree days, humidity levels and rainfall between the locations. You can add to that the difference in soils."

Loren Giesler, UNL plant pathologist, makes a presentation at one of the 2012 soybean research sites.
Loren Giesler, UNL plant pathologist, makes a presentation at one of the 2012 soybean research sites.

Soybean Management Field Days have been around since 1999, according to Glewen. But in the past two years, in partnership with the Nebraska Soybean Board, UNL has coordinated replicated studies that have helped producers and researchers understand what works and what doesn't at different sites."

Adds Glewen, "What works in Wisconsin and Illinois doesn't always hold true in Nebraska."

Testing practices across different regions in Nebraska is useful, Glewen says. "The field days also help UNL Extension understand why growers do what they do in their own region."

Planting soybeans early was not as possible 20 to 30 years ago as it is today, primarily due to advances in seed technology and planting equipment. Adding narrow-row planting to a grower's management practices is more expensive because it requires a big investment in equipment, and paying those expenses will take time, he says.

If you would like more information about the results of the 2012 studies, contact Glewen at 402-624-8030, or email him at kglewen1@unl.edu.