This year, Nick McMichen planted 600 acres of ultra-early soybeans. It's a big trial, but McMichen has proven many times that his diversified family farm in Alabama can deliver quality high yields for soybeans and cotton and peanuts, too.
But the Cherokee County farmer sat down with Eddie McGriff, Alabama Cooperative Extension regional agent, to discuss the progress of the ultra-early soybeans in as part of McGriff's series called Bean Counters.
McMichen planted the soybeans around April 16 on 30-inch rows with a seeding rate of 125,000 per acre at about a 1.25-inch depth. Though the spring was wet and cool, he got a good stand of between 110,000 to 115,000 plants per acre.
McMichen along with McGriff conducted previous trials on row spacing, comparing 30-inch to 15-inch and 7.5-inch spacing. He went with the 30-inch spacing because it, "allows us to get air infiltration down in the canopy to help the beans bush out and to make more soybeans. Plus, it allows us to be able to come back in at R2 or R3 and apply potash to increase the size of the soybeans on the plant. So, the 30-inch rows offer more versatility than planting on the narrower row."
The land planted to the early soybeans this year was in cotton in 2020.
"It was good ground and was able to be planted in a timely fashion and well-drained. I think we made the right move (on the early soybeans) considering what the markets have done right now," McMichen said. "You know profitability is the No. 1 goal. We are cotton farmers, but making good soybeans is going to help us to be better cotton farmers, too."
McMichen said everything needs to click to get the highest yield potential out of early planted beans, but two areas you can't skimp on are fertility and weed management. At burndown he applied glyphosate, dicamba and two ounces of Valor. The week of May 10, he was going back in with Prefix, which is a pint of Dual II Mangum and pint of Reflex, and glyphosate.
"Right now, we're very clean. We fully anticipate that that will carry us on down the road. We may have to treat it with another shot of glyphosate, but we're really getting good control of the residuals," McMichen said.