Three planting tips for a strong start to your soybean growing season

Creating ideal growing conditions for your soybeans at planting could make a big difference at harvest. Consider the management tips below before kicking off your growing season.

1. Prepare your equipment.

Routine maintenance is important to keep your farm machinery running smoothly. Take the time to calibrate your planter to ensure that soybean seed will be planted at the appropriate depth and distributed consistently to avoid missed yield due to skips.

2. Determine your optimum plant population and row spacing.

Plant populations to maximize soybean yield vary. Checkoff-funded research has shown that row spacings of less than 20 inches are ideal for suppressing weeds and maximizing sunlight interception. Take the labeled germination rate into consideration when determining the planting rate in order to achieve your ideal harvest population. Consult your local agronomist for the recommended population rates and row spacing for your growing conditions.

3. Pick your planting date.

Soybeans will germinate more quickly in warmer soil temperatures. At a minimum, soil temperatures should be at or above 50⁰F when planting. If soil conditions are adequate, consider early-planted soybeans to extend your planting window and the growing season, which research suggests may increase yield. Keep in mind that diseases and insects may impact early-planted soybeans differently than normal- or late-planted soybeans.