Maximize soybean yields with management
Although dramatic new yield records for soybeans have excited growers in recent years, yield increases for soybeans have not kept pace with those of corn. Over the last 25 years, US average corn yields have increased by 1.6 percent per year while soybeans have only achieved a 1.27 percent per year gain. Some experts suggest that this discrepancy exists because many growers do not apply the same level of management to their soybeans as to their corn.
Soybeans were once considered much easier to manage than corn. Because they were planted later, they didn't need fungicide seed treatments. In the Midwest states, post-emergence disease and insect control were seldom needed. Soil fertility, harvest and storage were easier than for corn. Although some of these advantages still apply, others have changed. For example, soybeans are now planted earlier, so seed treatments may provide a significant return. Increasing soybean aphid and bean leaf beetle problems mean that scouting and spraying may now be necessary. Spread of soybean cyst nematode, sudden death syndrome and other diseases have increased management requirements for soybeans. Growers still taking a "minimal management" approach to soybean production are likely missing a significant opportunity to increase their bottom line.
A “Crop Insights” examines agronomic practices that may help increase soybean yields and profits. Click here to read the Insight.