AJ Woodyard, lead agronomist and someone who likes to “geek out on soybeans” has seen the true capabilities of soybeans over the years. Someone who has experience in research testing a variety of management practices, Woodyard has challenged a lot of conventional thinking and is always willing to challenge some more.
Why should a farmer consider early planted soybeans? Woodyard says it is a critical step in achieving the genetic potential your soybeans can provide.
“Early planted soybeans are known to increase yield potential and it’s pretty logical as to why,” says Woodyard. “One benefit is the ability to flower prior to the summer solstice, which allows for varieties to be in reproductive stages during the longest days of the year, intercepting more light during those critical times.”
Woodyard notes that throughout his career many have thought that regardless of planting date, soybeans would flower after the solstice. Not true, says Woodyard. And, that thinking could be costing you precious yield.
“Earlier planting dates result in more reproductive nodes. Nodes turn into pods and pods fill with seeds,” says Woodyard. “The potential for more yield starts with nodes and drives all the way through seed weight, another benefit of earlier planted soybeans.”
In addition to soybeans ability to compensate under challenging conditions, they will also change growth patterns to take advantage of early planting, helping farmers get stronger results in the fall.