Later planted soys – do I need shorter maturity?

By Robert Moloney, Syngenta Seeds

Since someone seems to have forgotten to turn the tap off across most of Ontario, the planting season has been pushed back farther than we would like.  At this point (May 19), most growers are moving to shorter season corn hybrids.  But what should we be doing with our soybean maturities?

First realize that soybeans and corn react very differently to late planting in Ontario.  Corn generally requires X number of days and X amount of heat and sunlight to reach maturity.  The soybean varieties we grow in Ontario are considered indeterminant varieties, which means that flowering and seed production is controlled more or less by daylength rather than requiring a set amount of heat/time.  In the southern part of the United States they do grow determinant soybeans that behave more like corn.  And most of the edible beans varieties grown in Ontario are also determinant in their behavior (require a relatively fixed number of days to reach maturity).  What growing indeterminant soybean varieties means for us is that a 1 week delay in planting at this point will likely only cause a 2 day delay in maturity in the fall.  As we get into June a 1 week delay will likely cause less delay than this in the fall.  So as a general rule there is no need to move to shorter maturity bean until we get to June 15th.

 Some growers are concerned about moving to a shorter maturity soybean in order to get wheat planting done in a timely manner this fall.  While this seems logical, the odds are that harvest/wheat planting weather this fall is going to have a bigger influence on getting the wheat in than a small change in the maturity of the soybean variety you grow.  Obviously the sooner you can get the soybeans in the ground this spring will have an even bigger influence than either of these factors.  Choosing a soybean variety that is properly adapted to your farm (i.e. disease resistance, drought tolerance) will be of more benefit than trying to get a shorter maturity bean.

What to do if you’re planting late?

Do make sure you are planting into a fit seedbed.  Soybeans have a weaker root system than corn or wheat so they are much more sensitive to being “mucked in”.  As the planting season gets late for your area consider moving to narrower rows (7.5” ideally) as they will have a bigger advantage to wider rows.  As long as lodging or white mould are not a concern consider bumping your seeding rate up slightly.  Late planted soys will have less vegetative growth so narrow rows and higher seeding rates will help maximize filling in the rows.  A higher seeding rate will also tend to make the beans taller which should increase the height of the bottom pods and reduce harvest loss this fall.  Given the current conditions scout your fields regularly for Bean Leaf Beetle feeding (especially if you are not using Cruiser treated seed).  With the late planting and current cooler conditions slowing plant growth there will be lots of hungry Bean Leaf Beetles that may clip the seedlings before they get established.


Planting Effective Plots

Quality data can only be achieved through quality plots. Establishment of the plot is critical we need to be aware of the following things:

Pre plant preparation

• Stakes, forms, GPS unit, safety equip.
• Check plot seed inventory – do you have the hybrids you want
• Plan ahead– If possible plant the plot early in the season.

Successful Plot establishment

• Site is level and of one soil type
• Watch for dead furrows
• Identifications stakes – 2 per variety in the corn row
• Documentation – fully completed (includes soil type, tillage, previous crop etc.)
• GPS location or map to find site
• Correct planting depth
• Population – watch seed size and changes in population
• Leave documentation with dealer or NK rep.

In season Assessment

Monitor that the stakes are correct
Trim fronts or make a path to and along the front of the plot for easier access.


• Spring Vigour
• Flowering/pollination
• Pest pressure – insect/weed/disease
• Maturity – milk line or black layer

Harvest assessment

• Population
• Lodging
• Pest pressure – insect/weed/disease
• Stalk integrity – push test
• Moisture
• Test weight
• Yield

Remember using your plot information and information of other plots in the area and throughout North America as the best way to get the ‘right hybrid on the right field for the highest yield’.

Early Planting Soybeans: Tips

Planting date: The calendar is not as important to observing ‘Mother Nature’. Soil temperature, 10 day forecast and soil conditions are more important than the calendar date. Research in the past few years have shown that earlier planted soybeans (May 1 – May 15) have preformed better than later planted. Soil Temperature – Soil temperature during the first 24 hours is critical to soybean emergence and vigour. Avoid planting soybeans when the soil temperature is below 10o C (50o F). Soybeans that absorb cold water during the first 24 hours are at a greater risk of poor germination and vigour. Soil temperature is usually 2 – 3 hours delay to air temperature. If you are planting into marginal soil temperature it is better to plant later in the day and watch 24 – 48 hour forecast in regards to temperature and avoid planting prior a cold forecast. For more information on soil temperature and soybeans check out:

Seeding Rates – For early planted soybeans Use the recommended rate for the row width you are planting. Cutting rates is not recommended.

Seed Treatment – Planting into cooler soils will increase the risk of seed rots, seedling diseases and seed corn maggot. Due to the slower emergence of the soybean, the seed is exposed to the pest longer. Use seed treatments (Apron Maxx or Cruiser Maxx) to reduce the risk in early planted fields.

Planting Depth – Uniform seed depth is important. It is important to get the seed planted into moisture due to the high moisture required to swell the seed (50 % of its weight). The goal is place the seed approx. ½ inch into moisture. Ideal Planting depth should be between 1 – 1 ½ inches but anywhere from 1 – 2 ½ inches will work. Beans planted a 3 inches and deeper are at risk of emergence problems.

Soil Moisture Management – Wet soil conditions often lead to compaction (sidewall, surface) problems, deep planting issues and the seed trench opening up. When planting into wet soil conditions rolling or packing should be delayed to prevent compaction of the soil surface. When planting into dry soils it is very important to conserve the moisture by using the packer/roller during tillage and right after planting. Also, it is very important to not to over till the soil and/or till the soil to far ahead of planting as this practice may over dry the seed bed.

Have a safe planting season.

Speciality Soybean Update.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Bruce Irons, Speciality Soybean Manager with Syngenta Seeds Canada and discuss the Speciality (IP) soybean market for 2011 and the future. Reduced premiums in 2011 are mainly due to the full pipeline of clear hilum soybeans for the Japanese market. The oversupply according to Irons is due to the increased acreage planted in 2009 and the high yields of soybeans over the last couple of years. This has led to a soft market, reduced premiums and less acres contracted in 2011. There has been increase shipments into south-east Asia and that market is opening up for speciality food soybeans. This market is generally very price sensitive and uses dark hilum lower value soybeans. Reduced premiums and oversupply of food grade soybeans are driving this market.
The high soybean price on the CBOT has that affected the IP market? Irons feel that it has in that growers may ask themselves if it is really worth growing an IP soybean and the extra work and cost that is required. Canada is recognised for producing high quality, high protein soybeans and to be able to provide soybeans in this niche market and it would be disappointing to lose our global competitiveness and leadership by moving away from the IP market in the short-term. Why should you grow an IP soybean over a glyphosate tolerant soybean? Three main reasons – protect our niche market that we have established, help reduce the threat of glyphosate resistance weeds and yield. OOPSCC trials in 2010 show that on average the conventional soybeans yield approximately two bushels more than the glyphosate tolerant soybeans.
What can we expect in 2012? The exporters have communicated to Irons that expectations are to return to a normal demand and premium as seen in the past.

For the full interview click here or watch on YouTube : IP soybean interview – January 2011.

Is the Canadian soybean variety registration antiquated?

Are we as an industry delaying getting good varieties to the soybean grower because of the registration system? As the industry transitions to Genuity Roundup Ready 2 soybeans the industry is under great pressure to get the new varieties to the growers in a timely manner (allowed to order in the fall when discounts can be maximized). Waiting to sell these soybeans until February because they are supported for registration but paperwork is still being worked on is unacceptable. We need to speed this up. With the soybean registration process must meet the speed of business that occurs in today’s society.
It is very important to soybean growers that they can get access to the new varieties so they can start using these new genetics in their farm operations.

Should we adopt a system that variety registration is not required?

What is your opinion?

Fields of Distinction, Middlesex-Oxford

Real Field Facts from Eric Ricther, Territory Manager, Middlesex-Oxford.

Soybean harvest is well underway, but has been abit of a struggle to get several days back to back since last Friday. Yields on the west side of Middlesex are running 45-55, touching 60 bu/acre. In Oxford county, yields are basically starting at 55-60 Bu/acre and up from there. Robert Moloney harvested a soybean plot yesterday with NK beans #1 an #2 out of five entries. S05T6 out yielded Colby’s by +6 bu/acre. NK soybeans are definitely class #1 for yield and profitability.
Corn harvest has started on the west side of Middlesex with moisture in the low 20’s and yield in the 180-200 bu/acre range. Lots of corn fields showing feeding from Western Bean Cutworm – talk to your dealers about the benefits of Agrisure Viptera corn hybrids from NK Brand for spring 2011.

NK Brand Fields of Distinction – “Seeing is Believing”

Check out the corner of Oxford 31st concession and Oxford line #88 (southeast field). Field of CORN N29T series that is sure to help Oxford county set a county record this season. Lots of ears with 600+ kernels at 30,000 plants/acre – take a minute to conduct a yield check on this one if you are close by.

Thank goodness there is a stop light at the corner of Petty and Lobo line in Middlesex county. Without it, there would likely be an accident before these S20-G7 soybeans are harvested. A picture perfect field of NK Brand specialty I.P. soybeans – definitely going to gross more than most fields of edible beans.

On Highway #81 heading north after crossing the Ausable towards Parkhill, another field of S20-G7 on the east side that are worth a look. Grower had 52 bu/acre last year and looking to notch that up again this year. Giving consistent yields year after year.

S25-A5 on some tough ground, South side of Elm tree , 1 mile west of Highway #81. Grower was thinking of giving up on soybeans in his rotation because yields were on a significant downtrend. Nice to have the chance to work with a customer and help turn his yield curve around. Great field of NK Brand RR soybeans – will be a perfect fit for S25-W5 Genuity RR2 yield for 2011.

S08-C3 breaking whole farm records in Oxford county – not shabby for 2750 CHU, zone 0 maturity soybean. 65+ bu/acre should help generate some tidy profits for NK Brand customers.

Check your soybean fields for Spider Mites.

Many fields are looking at like the best yields we have seen in a long time it is important to get these beans in the bin. The damage from spider mites in your field will decrease your yield. Tracey has a great article that can help with your spray decision. Check the link below.
Too Many Fields with Obvious Spider Mite Damage.

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