Agronomist says it’s an unusual year for soybeans

An agronomist says the timing of rain in a dry growing season helped some short-season soybean varieties outperform their full-season counterparts.

Bob Berkovich with Pioneer in Wisconsin says it’s no surprise the lack of moisture during critical development times is driving soybean yield results. “Some growers are talking about 80 bushels of soybeans on the lower, better parts of a field and then as you go up the hill and get onto some ridge ground or different soil types with less water holding capacity, those yields are dropping down to 25, 30, 40 bushels an acre.”

Berkovich says it’s an unusual year, as some of the early maturity soybeans handled the timing of the rain better. “Last week, we took off a plot in the Randolph (WI) area, and earlier maturity varieties in that 1-8 to 2-0 range yielded 10 to 15 bushels an acre better than the 2-5 and the 2-8 beans in that plot.”

Berkovich says the mid-August rains likely saved the soybean crop, but the plants needed more rain during late flowering and early pod fill stages. “We saw a lot of pod abortion. We saw abortion of individual seeds within pods, so instead of that soybean pod having three to four beans, maybe it was down to three or two, or even just one.”

Berkovich says farmers should continue to plant the full-season soybean varieties, because in most years, that will lead to better results.

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