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7 tips for growing better no-till soybeans

7 tips for growing better no-till soybeans
Remember to start clean with no-till soybeans. Also, keep an eye out for soybean cyst nematode.

Producers are looking to slice expenses for the 2015 crop year.

Even with lower crop prices, it's important to get the most out of every seed. With many growers leaning toward a heavy soybean rotation this year, Blake Miller, a Syngenta agronomic service manager, has several tips for getting the best start possible on no-till soybean acres.

Start clean – Weed management has jumped in price as glyphosate-resistant weeds become more common. Still, Miller says a field overrun with marestail will devastate yield. Those with a serious problem should consider a fall burndown.

7 tips for growing better no-till soybeans

Use a residual – Again, weed control isn't getting cheaper. But a residual herbicide is a necessity on acres with weed problems, Miller notes. He recommends saving the residual for the spring burndown pass to extend activity into summer.

SDS vigilance – Last year, a lot of growers got bit by serious outbreaks of sudden death syndrome. A cool, wet spring moved the onset early enough to cause significant yield loss. Miller recommends waiting even longer on no-till soybeans to allow the soil to warm even further. "Warmer soil means the bean gets out of the ground and starts growing at a rate where it's not as susceptible to the SDS fungus," Miller adds. Also, remember to choose a resistant variety and use a seed treatment.

Scout for SCN – Miller recommends folks test soil samples for soybean cyst nematode eggs. At the very least, acres with a high population should get a variety with high SCN resistance.

Adjust pops – Many growers are still adjusting population rates for no-till acres. Miller says it's common to bump rates up 10% on no-till acres. With quality seed, this is unnecessary, he notes.

More pressure – For those looking to no-till soybeans after soybeans, Dan Davidson, Illinois Soybean Association director of strategic research, says there isn't as much of a challenge (or yield drag) as corn after corn. His biggest concern is the additional potential disease pressure from planting back into soybean stubble. He recommends switching up varieties to help minimize the risk.

Check K levels – Davidson says growers should pay attention to potassium levels. This is even more important in soybean after soybean situations. While 2015 may be a year to draw on the potassium bank account, make sure there's enough in there, Davidson says.

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