Planting Pro: How to Plan for the Upcoming Soybean Season
Any farmer can tell you that there’s more to planting than tossing some seeds in the soil. The quality of the seeds and the condition of the soil play a pivotal role – but overall yield is dependent on a variety of other factors.
Here at Mixon Seed Service, we have gleaned some best practices from the region’s top producers. From planting dates to progress in the farming industry, our team is proud to put our experience to work for you!
The North Carolina Soybean Yield Contest
The North Carolina Soybean Yield Contest, one of the longest-running contests of its kind, provides growers with useful data – an amount almost as abundant as the crops themselves! A comprehensive analysis of 18 years of contest entries reveals some trends that soybean farmers would be wise to watch.
Trends to Watch: Maturity Groups & Planting Dates
While there is certainly no one-size-fits-all solution, data shows that planting earlier and selecting earlier maturing varieties may increase production. In 2002, over 75% of entries were a maturity group 5 or later. But by 2019, the majority were a maturity group 4 or earlier (over 75%). This trend shows that more and more growers are utilizing earlier maturity groups, 3s and 4s.
Note: One important thing to consider is the amount of time to cut soybeans once they have reached maturity. Earlier MGs will not hold as long, so it’s important to ensure you are prepared to harvest when it’s time.
Planting dates in recent years have also trended earlier, with more than half of the entries planted before May. Research on optimal timing compare the following planting dates:
Early (mid to late April)
Mid (mid May)
Late (mid June)
Again, results will vary based on growing region and maturity group. But of the varieties included in the North Carolina Soybean Producers Association’s study (MG late 4 and early 5), yields were much higher when planted early.
Takeaways for 2021: Your Best Yield Yet
The North Carolina Soybean Yield Contest’s top producers have provided many helpful tips as we look ahead to a new year. These trends have emerged over the last two decades, giving growers a leg up when planning for 2021.
Consider the following:
Earlier maturity groups
Earlier planting dates
Lower seeding rate
Wider row spacing (15-24”)
Avoidance of blanket fungicide spraying
Alternate forms of weed control
Pest scouting to prevent insecticide resistance
Click here to learn more about the yield results from the NC Contest!
From expert advice to high-quality seed, Mixon Seed Service is here to help growers get their best yield yet – contact one of our seed experts today to determine the soybean variety for your area.
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