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High Input Soybean Production - 2021
- With crop budgets tight, farmers must continually evaluate what inputs provide the most value to their operation.
- The objective of this study was to evaluate how soybean yield potential is influenced by twelve different management treatments.
Research Site Details
A 2.9 MG XtendFlex® Soybean product was sprinkler irrigated to meet the evapotranspiration needs of the crop and planted on 30-inch rows.
The study was setup as a randomized complete block with four replications with twelve management treatments (Table 1).
Weeds were controlled uniformly across the study.
A base fertilizer application of 60 lb/acre Phosphorous (P), 25 lb/acre Sulfur (S), and 0.25 lb/acre Zinc (Zn) was strip-tilled across all treatments on April 23, 2021.
Soybean lodging was rated prior to harvest on a scale of 1 to 9 with 1 = no lodging and 9 = severe lodging.
Plots were combine-harvested.
Grain moisture content, test weight, and total weight were determined.
Statistical analysis for Fisher’s LSD was performed.
Table 1. Management Treatments
Understanding the Results
Yield – Figure 1
The average increase in yield for all HM treatments compared to all LM treatments was 6.8 bu/acre.
The highest soybean yields were consistently observed with the May 1 planting date compared to the June 3 date. When the date was moved to the earlier planting in the LM treatments, a 11.6 bu/acre increase was recorded. For the HM treatments, a reduction of 11.5 bu/acre was recorded when changing from the May 1 planting date to June 3. In previous years, research at the Gothenburg Learning Center showed an end of April planting date through the first week of May for soybean has consistently produced higher yields than other planting dates.
An application of Delaro® Complete Fungicide at the R3 growth stage increased yield over the LM treatment by 4.8 bu/acre and a reduction of 2.8 bu/acre was recorded when Delaro® Complete Fungicide was removed from the HM treatment.
An application of Leverage® 360 Insecticide at the R3 growth stage increased yield over the LM treatment by 2.9 bu/acre and a reduction of 4.2 bu/acre was recorded when Leverage® 360 Insecticide was removed from the HM treatment.
A micronutrient application provided an increase in yield with LM treatments but did not significantly increase yield with the HM treatments.
Increasing the density from 160,000 to 220,000 seeds/acre did not increase yield.
Test Weight – Figure 2
The average increase in test weight for all HM treatments compared to all LM treatments was 0.8 lb/bu.
The May 1 planting date had a positive impact on test weight compared with the June 6 planting date by increasing test weight by 1.5 lb/bu over the LM treatment and decreasing test weight by 1.1 lb/bu compared to the HM treatment.
Lodging – Figure 3
The average reduction in lodging for all HM treatments compared to all LM treatments was 1.3.
Even though the May 1 planting was in the field a month longer than the June 6 planting, there was a 1.2-point reduction in lodging for the LM treatment.
The earlier planting date of May 1 had increased yield potential and test weight across all treatments compared to the June 6 planting. There was also a trend that the later planting had increased potential for lodging.
Delaro® Complete Fungicide and Leverage® 360 Insecticide increased yield potential in both LM and HM treatments.
A 14 bu/acre yield increase was recorded for the HM treatment compared to the LM treatment.
- Farmers should carefully weigh the value of soybean inputs as high yields can be realized with additional inputs.
Potential Inputs for Soybean Production - 2020
- Every year farmers evaluate which inputs they may want to use in their soybean production system to increase yield and return on investment. To help farmers with this decision, different inputs such as seeding rate, planting date, fungicide use, and fertilizer applications were evaluated for their potential impact on soybean yield.
RESEARCH SITE DETAILS
|Hord silt loam
- The study consisted of ten treatments with five categorized as base management (BM) and five categorized as high management (HM) (Table 1). Treatments 1 and 6 were considered the base for BM and HM inputs, respectively.
- This study was designed as a randomized complete block with four replications.
- A 2.6 maturity group soybean product was planted.
- The plots were sprinkler irrigated and weeds were controlled as needed.
- No insecticides were applied, and fungicides were applied as described in Table 1.
- Plots were combine-harvested, and a subsample of grain from each replication was taken to determine moisture content percent, test weight, and total weight.
- Statistical analysis for Fisher’s LSD was performed.
- Input costs:
- Seed at $50/140,000 seed unit.
- Fungicide and application at $23/acre.
- Phosphorus/nitrogen mix at $445/ton and sulfur at $275/ton.
- These costs do not account for additional savings farmers can realize when using Bayer PLUS Rewards.*
*See program terms & conditions for full details.
UNDERSTANDING THE RESULTS
- The highest average yield (87.9 bu/acre) occurred with the high management treatment that had a fertilizer application via strip-till on April 22, an early planting date of May 1, and a Delaro® 325 SC Fungicide application on August 5. In this study, the higher seeding rate of 220K seeds/acre appeared to have a positive influence on yield. In previous studies at the Bayer Crop Science, Gothenburg Water Utilization Learning Center, there has been minimal yield difference between a 220K and 160K seeds/acre seeding rate as seen in an irrigated study in 20171 and a dryland study in 2018.2
- For the base management treatments in this study, an earlier planting date of May 1 had a significant positive impact on yield of a few bushels per acre although the positive impact on yield can be higher as seen in 2017.1 The May 1 planted soybeans matured earlier (Figure 2).
- Economic observations for this study (Table 2):
- Planting a soybean crop earlier doesn’t have traditional input costs such as fertilizer or pesticide applications. However, depending on the growing season, there may be a cost to the entire operation associated with moving to an earlier planting because some corn may be planted later than optimum. For this scenario, there are no associated costs for the May 1 planting date as it is an easy way to potentially increase soybean yield.
- The high management treatment in this study had high yields, but also had the highest cost except for the HM – Early Planting treatment which had similar costs. The HM treatment becomes more profitable as the value of soybeans increase from $8 to $12/bu.
- Moving the planting date from the end of May to the end of April through the first week in May is an easy no cost input that typically increases soybean yield.
- When evaluating crop inputs for high management systems, the whole system should be considered. At the Learning Center, there has been a consistent trend of putting multiple crop inputs together providing increased yield potential. This was observed this year with the high management treatment. However, determining the value of each individual input can be difficult. Year to year variations occur but understanding that inputs build on each other in the system is an important point as farmers build-out their future soybean production plans.
1 Gothenburg Learning Center. 2017. Interaction of soybean planting date on seeding rate. Field Research Book.
2 Gothenburg Learning Center. 2018. Influence of row width on soybean yield. Field Research Book.