Study shows smaller rows contribute to more soybean yields in colder climates

January 27, 2011

Soybean production has continued to increase in the Northeast United States with more and more first time growers planting the crop and many experienced growers planting alongside corn crops. To save on time and expenses, some farmers plant soybeans with a corn planter in 30-inch rows instead of 7.5-inch rows with the regularly used grain drill.

Dr. William Cox, a Cornell University scientist, investigated the response of two soybean varieties in row widths of 7.5, 15, and 30 inches at four seeding rates in a study funded by a USDA Hatch grant. Cox measured emergence rates of soybean, growth, yield components, and seed yield of soybean to determine if soybeans can grow rapidly enough in 30-inch rows compared to smaller rows during the northern latitudes' shorter growing season.

Previous research suggests soybeans grown in northern latitudes yield best in rows of less than 15 inches. However, the high price of soybean seeds may influence growers to use the corn planter because of its uniform seed depth and distance between seeds in a row reducing seeding rates.

Cox discovered that soybeans grown in 30-inch rows had approximately 15% lower biomass than soybeans grown in 7.5 inch rows. The lower contributed to 14% fewer pods, 9% fewer seeds, and 15% lower harvest yield.

"What this study shows is that the soybean yield potential is about 15% greater when drilled in 7.5-inch rows compared to when planted with a corn planter in 30-inch rows in this Northeast environment," says Cox.

Nevertheless, Cox stresses that the conclusions are based on an experiment done in a controlled setting and should be interpreted as such.

"Care must be taken in interpreting the results of this small plot study, where weed escapes were controlled by hand-weeding ,and Roundup and aphicide applications were made so as not to run over in any of the row widths," he adds.

Explore further: Farmers who plant -- or replant -- after June 20 may see yields drop by half

More information: The full results of the study are available in the January/February 2011 issue of Agronomy Journal. www.agronomy.org/publications/aj/abstracts/103/1/123

Related Stories

Plant soybean early to increase yield

February 2, 2009

Over the past decade, two-thirds of Indiana growers have shifted to planting their soybean crop earlier because they believe that earlier planting increases yield. Planting date is probably one of the most important yet least ...

Miscanthus, a biofuels crop, can host western corn rootworm

January 5, 2010

The western corn rootworm beetle, a pest that feasts on corn roots and corn silk and costs growers more than $1 billion annually in the U.S., also can survive on the perennial grass Miscanthus x giganteus, a potential biofuels ...

In Organic Cover Crops, More Seeds Means Fewer Weeds

January 26, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Farmers cultivating organic produce often use winter cover crops to add soil organic matter, improve nutrient cycling and suppress weeds. Now these producers can optimize cover crop use by refining seeding ...

New CSIRO soybean a hit in Japan

April 12, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new soybean variety from CSIRO is gaining popularity in Japan due to its enhanced suitability as an ingredient in traditional Japanese dishes.

Recommended for you

Scientists discover key clues in turtle evolution

September 2, 2015

A research team led by NYIT scientist Gaberiel Bever has determined that a 260-million year-old fossil species found in South Africa's Karoo Basin provides a long awaited glimpse into the murky origins of turtles.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.