With soybeans nearing the reproductive phases and close to flowering, the planting delays from earlier this year seem far behind us now. But before we all take a sigh of relief, it’s important for your soybean customers to understand the importance of sunlight — and the amount required to maximize soybean yield.
“Soybeans are light harvesters and require as much sunlight as possible,” said Jeremy Hogan, BASF Technical Marketing Agronomist. “Harvesting enough sunlight is one of the biggest yield- limiting factors for soybeans.”
It’s important for your soybean customers to understand the deep need their crop has for bright, sunny conditions, especially during pod fill. Maximizing canopy photosynthesis, or the amount of sunlight soybeans capture, can be accomplished by methods such as making a proactive fungicide application. Hogan highlights that it’s most critical to maximize canopy photosynthesis and growth rate from the R1–R3 growth stages.
So why is the longest day of the year so important?
“June 21, the summer solstice and longest day of the year, is used as a benchmark for evaluating overall soybean yield potential,” said Hogan. “Entering growth stage R2 on or near this date should be a common goal for maximizing soybean yield.”
You can calculate soybean yield potential by the number of pods per acre multiplied by the number of seeds per pod, multiplied by the weight per seed. Each of these components contributes evenly to yield, making each equally important to keep in mind as summer solstice gets closer.
When June 21 rolls around, Hogan stresses the importance of analyzing factors such as the number of nodes on the plant and the health of the trifoliates associated with critical nodes to determine yield potential.
“The most critical nodes for yield on the soybean plant are in the middle two-thirds of the plant. Our research indicates that on average, as much as 80-85 percent of the yield can be attributed to these nodes. However, recent early planting date and row spacing research has demonstrated that yield contribution lower on the plant can be influenced through agronomic practices,” said Hogan. “It’s critical to maintain healthy leaves associated with key nodes as long as possible, to ensure maximum photosynthate distribution to support yield at those nodes.”
To help maintain the leaves on the nodes in the middle of the plant, one thing your customers can do to maximize their yield potential is make an application of Priaxor® Xemium® brand fungicide.
With June 21 being a key date on growers’ calendars, and also a time when growers hope to be at R2-R4, this is also a timely opportunity for growers to make a proactive application of Priaxor fungicide because it delivers consistent performance through proven Plant Health benefits such as disease control, growth efficiency and stress tolerance. On over 550 on-farm trials from 2010-2017, a positive yield response occurred more than 92 percent of the time, with an average yield response of 4.5 bu/A.*
Using the longest day of the year as a significant benchmark for growers’ overall crop success can help improve soybean yields now and in the future. To learn more about BASF’s soybean portfolio, visit GrowSmartSoybeans.com.
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Priaxor and Xemium are registered trademarks of BASF.
*Results may vary