Thinking Ahead

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Implement best management practices now to save money and optimize yields next year

For some, harvest is nearly complete, and for others, it’s just begun. But it’s never too early to begin thinking about next year.

“Boosting soybean yields for next year begins by understanding the needs of the soybean plant and its environment,” says Ignacio Ciampitti, Ph.D., Kansas State University crop production and cropping systems specialist. “Then, using that information to adopt the best agronomic practices and technology to optimize yield. Innovation is important, but it won’t do any good unless farmers apply basic management practices.”

When contemplating the next growing season, farmers should consider the following for their management plan:

  1. Following harvest, collect soil samples to test soil fertility and nematodes.
  2. Apply lime or gypsum if pH ranges need to be adjusted. This can also be found through soil sample results.
  3. Correct nutrient levels, broadcast applications of phosphorus and potassium for increasing soil nutrient status.
  4. Check soil’s physical conditions for compaction or rutting, to determine need for fall tillage.
  5. Begin preparing lists of needed inputs, such as seed, fertilizers and pesticides for next year’s crop.
  6. Make fall herbicide applications to control winter annual weeds. It is essential to scout for weed escapes.
  7. Begin reading and evaluating regional variety trial results and outcomes from on-farm trials to make seed selection and other management decisions for next year’s crop.
  8. Begin selecting next year’s soybean varieties and seed treatment decisions.
  9. Prepare planters and sprayers for the next growing season.

To learn more about experimenting with different management practices on your farm, contact your state commodity association staff, university soybean researchers and extension specialists, crop advisers, or your seed and chemical sales or agronomy experts.