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Plant soybeans and corn in same time window for top yields

Plant soybeans and corn in same time window for top yields
Long-term study indicates best planting window might be the same for corn and soybeans.

Do you want to do something that can boost soybean yields without costing you another dime?

If so, you can prepare to plant soybeans in the same window that you hope to plant corn next spring. That's the word from Brent Minett, talking about Practical Farm Research at Beck's home site near Atlanta, Ind.

Related: Delayed soybean crop planting could affect yields

"We now have 17 years' worth of data on our long-term soybean date planting study, and the best date for planting soybeans seems to be narrowing," he reports. "What we're finding as the study goes longer and longer is the best date for planting soybeans if you are after high yields is April 15 to May 15."

Cash in on planting date: Seventeen years of data in Beck's Practical Farm Research Trials indicate that soybeans respond to early planting in almost the same way that corn responds to early planting.

That assumes, of course, that soil conditions are right for planting. The last two seasons have made hitting that target extremely difficult.

While Beck's Practical Farm Research typically isn't replicated in any one location in any one year, replication comes from doing the same test over a period of many years. Many of the tests are also done at a variety of locations, ranging from Illinois to Ohio and south to Kentucky. PFR trials will be expanded into Iowa in 2016.

"What we're saying is that if conditions are right, it would pay you to start the soybean planter the same day that you start the corn planter," Minett says. "We have demonstrated a definite yield advantage for earlier planting compared to planting soybeans after mid-May."

At one time May 10 to May 20 was thought to be the ideal window to plant soybeans. Improved genetics, more testing to show what soybeans can do planted early and in many cases, seed treated with both fungicides and insecticides, have changed that picture, he says.

Starting planting the same time and picking up yield for planting soybean early won't cost you any more as long as you have either two planters, one set up to plant soybeans and one corn, or else you have a corn planter and a drill for soybeans.

Related: Planting Soybeans at 30 inches Could Mean a Slight Yield Penalty

It also assumes you have the labor to run the soybean planter or drill. Typically, farmers who make it work are no-tilling at least their soybeans to cut down on labor needs.

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