Crop specialist recommends not stressing soybeans

Crop management specialist Emerson Nafziger says his research shows soybeans with less stress yield better.

“My point here is don’t create stress on purpose,” said Nafziger, during an Illinois Soybean Association-sponsored webinar Tuesday. “Some people have said soybeans love stress; if you stop it, they’re so happy they yield more, (but that) doesn’t seem to work.”

The University of Illinois professor emeritus made his point with the fact that Illinois had a record projected 2018 soybean yield of 64 bushels to the acre. That beat the next best by 5 bushels.

“The soybean crop was probably the most stress-free year that we’ve ever had,” said Nafziger.

Early planting, from mid-April to mid-May, but not in March, results in higher yielding soybeans, and Nafziger urges growers not to skimp on plant populations.

“We had good plant counts, but it might not have been quite enough to maximize the number of pods per acre or per square foot,” he said.

There are areas where 170,000 plants per acre were needed to get maximum yields, said Nafziger, but he calls 140,000 to 150,000 generally safe.

AUDIO: Emerson Nafziger (61 min. MP3)


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