Early Planted Soybeans Come with Risks, Rewards
Advanced Agrilytics dives into considerations for early planted varieties in 2021
INDIANAPOLIS (March 22, 2021) – Gone are the days of conventional wisdom pointing to always planting corn first. In fact, as the adoption of early planted soybeans becomes more common, conventional wisdom may soon point the opposite way. The same resiliency seen from soybeans throughout the season make them a contender for early planting, as well.
“Soybeans are known to compensate and change growing patterns based on the environment and management strategies. Early planting is a prime example of how they put that adaptability into practice,” says AJ Woodyard, Lead Agronomist for Advanced Agrilytics. “In addition, planting date is one of the few decisions we make that can impact all three soybean yield components related to agronomic success: number of pods per acre, seeds per pod and weight per seed.”
For farmers getting ready to plant, Woodyard isn’t focused on which brand or traits you select, but more about the management practices that come with it. He says there are a number of considerations you should have when choosing which varieties to plant and where.
“The greatest threat to early planted soybeans is a frost after emergence, so no-tillers need to weigh the higher risk that comes with the temperature impacts of ground cover, verses those in conventional tillage” adds Woodyard. “You also want to make sure you’re looking at seed quality and vigor, as well as managing for known pests within your fields.”
Woodyard explains that not all seeds are created equally regarding early planting conditions. Farmers can learn more about the likelihood of a variety thriving under colder germination temperatures through an accelerated aging test, a mail-in process that takes about two weeks to get a result. While not common practice, Woodyard says it will give you a score that can predict the probability of success in early planted soybeans.
“With all of the new varieties and germplasm exploding onto the market in 2021, you have a lot of unknowns – but vigor in cold conditions doesn’t have to be one of them,” says Woodyard. “Having your varieties evaluated through the accelerated aging test can give you an advantage in prioritizing which varieties may handle cold conditions best and which may be better suited for warmer conditions.”
While Advanced Agrilytics doesn’t conduct the testing themselves, Woodyard says he’s seen the scores work to the advantage of customers in less-than-ideal conditions, like those in 2019 in Illinois where lower seed quality correlated to poorer emergence and vigor under cool, wet soil conditions. Woodyard warns that the test is only for prioritizing early planting and not a predictor of how a variety would perform in a normal planting window.
As far other considerations? Woodyard says that farmers should also be on the watch out for their new and old varieties being affected by conditions exasperated by early planting.
“The unknown germplasm could be a problem when it comes to pythium, phytophthora or sudden death syndrome,” adds Woodyard. “Make sure you are prepared to monitor and manage against them, especially if you have a history of these diseases on your farm.”
Woodyard is part of an ever-growing team of agronomists with Advanced Agrilytics that provide farmers hands-on agronomic expertise by bridging the gap between data collection and real-world application. The team of experts brings a diverse background in spatial and agronomic experts to drive results for customers and the future of the industry.
About Advanced Agrilytics
Advanced Agrilytics is an agronomic spatial solutions company that provides farmers with actionable, customized strategies to deliver sustainable outcomes based on environments within a field. The team’s hands-on approach combines field specific data with agronomic research to meet farmers at the cross-section of technology and a personal agronomist.