Plant soybean early to increase yield

Feb 02, 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 expensive management decisions that significantly affects soybean yield. Few scientists, however, have studied the effect of early-planting dates on soybean yield components and the impact of early planting on seed composition.

To answer this question, Andrew P. Robinson and colleagues at Purdue University conducted a 2-year (2006-2007) study at West Lafayette, IN. The research was supported by the Indiana Soybean Alliance and the Indiana Crop Improvement Association.

Three soybean cultivars were planted approximately every 2 weeks starting in late March and ending in early June. Detailed measurements of soybean yield components (pod number, seeds per pod, and seed mass), nodes, and reproductive nodes were counted by hand just before harvest. Oil and protein concentrations were determined by near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy.

A recent article in the January-February 2009 issue of Agronomy Journal gives detailed results from this study. This research was presented at the American Society of Agronomy annual meetings in October 2008 at Houston, TX, and at the American Seed Trade Association, Corn, Sorghum, and Soybean annual meetings in December 2007 at Chicago, IL.

"The research found that yield was consistently the highest when planting from April to early May," comments Robinson.

Pods-per-square-meter were a good indicator of yield potential of early planted soybean, whereas seed mass was a good indicator of late-planted (late-May and early-June) soybean. Oil concentration was higher at early plantings and protein concentration was higher at late planting dates. As the temperature increased during R6 soybean growth stage (full seed) oil concentration increased and protein concentration decreased.

"Our research shows that early planting does increase yield, but can vary by year and cultivar choice. Our research also suggests that early planting may lead to increased oil concentration of Midwest soybean. However, early planting may not be for everyone," warns Robinson. "Further research is needed to quantify the impact early planting has on seed quality."

Paper: agron.scijournals.org/cgi/content/full/101/1/131

Source: American Society of Agronomy

Explore further: Best of Last Week - Zero friction quantum engine, twisted radio beams and Ebola outbreak update

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

No consistent advantage for planting soybean early

Mar 16, 2009

Planting soybean on the optimum date produces maximum yield and profit without increasing production costs. Unfortunately, the optimum planting date is hard to indentify, because it varies from year to year, depending on ...

Making progress on deforestation

Jun 24, 2014

In 2005, Brazil was losing more forest each year than any other country. The good news is that today, Brazil has reduced deforestation in the Amazon rainforest by 70 percent, according to a recent study. ...

Recommended for you

Ig Nobel winner: Using pork to stop nosebleeds

Sep 19, 2014

There's some truth to the effectiveness of folk remedies and old wives' tales when it comes to serious medical issues, according to findings by a team from Detroit Medical Center.

History books spark latest Texas classroom battle

Sep 16, 2014

As Texas mulls new history textbooks for its 5-plus million public school students, some academics are decrying lessons they say exaggerate the influence of Christian values on America's Founding Fathers.

Flatow, 'Science Friday' settle claims over grant

Sep 16, 2014

Federal prosecutors say radio host Ira Flatow and his "Science Friday" show that airs on many National Public Radio stations have settled civil claims that they misused money from a nearly $1 million federal ...

User comments : 0