Soybean Corner: Planting some soybeans before corn if conditions allow makes sense.
Mar 09, 2021
I’m going to plant some soybeans first this year if I can plant by April 25. I only have one planter. If I can’t plant until April 25 or after, I figure I will plant all the corn, then soybeans. If I should get in early, say by April 15, I figure I will plant half my beans and then switch to corn, even if it isn’t April 25 yet. Does this sound like a sound strategy? Would you adjust it?
The Indiana Certified Crop Adviser panel includes Gene Flaningam, Flaningam Ag Consulting, Vincennes; Greg Kneubuhler, G & K Concepts Inc., Harlan; and Bryan Overstreet, Purdue University Extension ag educator, Jasper County.
Flaningam: Significant yield increases can be gained by planting soybeans in early April. Those early-planted soybeans will have more nodes per plant and more pods per node. Make sure to use a good seed treatment for sudden death syndrome when planting early. If you only have one planter, plant soybeans for at least the first week of planting, and then switch to corn. Adjust the soybean seeding rates back. I like to see seeding rates in the 100,000 to 150,000 seeding range on narrow rows. Use lower seeding rates on those more productive soils to reduce lodging potential. Make sure your field conditions are optimal for planting any crop. Soil compaction will haunt you all season long.
Kneubuhler: I personally have no problem with this strategy. The best answer is – “I’ll tell you in October what was correct!” In all seriousness, this is not a bad strategy at all. Soybeans planted early, assuming you get the stand you’re targeting, will generally out yield fields planted later. Soybeans are photosensitive plants, so the more calendar length you give them allows them to vegetate longer. This in turn gives them opportunity to set more pods later. It doesn’t always work out as planned, but the odds are in your favor for that to occur if planted earlier. Also, the seed industry in general offers attractive replant policies, so if it fails, you still have time to fix it as well! As far as corn planting, I think the best plan is to plant when ground conditions are suitable and the forecast afterwards is favorable. Calendar date really makes no difference to me if those two conditions are met.
Overstreet: I like your strategy. In the past we always planned on planting soybeans later, but we have found that soybean best planting dates really line up with corn, if not even a little earlier. The advantage soybeans have in planting a little earlier than corn is that they can withstand cooler temperatures than corn when they first emerge. Remember that the growing point of the soybean is above the ground, so if the plant gets frozen, it will die. The idea of planting early is having a bigger plant factory and having more light received by plants when they start blooming so they have more yield potential.