Adam Spellhaug, an agronomist with Peterson Farms Seeds, Harwood, N.D., suggests two steps to increase soybean yields this year:
1) Treat the seed.
"Seed-applied fungicides have given me an economic return the majority of time," he says. "They won't net an additional 5 bushels per acre every year, however, I've seen about 1 bushels per acre in 12 trials over the last six years. With low input cost, this is a very positive return."
Make sure the treatment you use is right for your area, though, he advises.
"We use a higher rate of Metalaxyl (Allegiance) in our location, due to higher Phytophthora pressure in our soils. Seed treatments are most highly recommended at the beginning of the planting season due to cooler soil temps at that time. But Rhizoctonia, Phytophthora and Fusarium are all active in warmer soils as well - so use treatment throughout the entire planting season."
2) Plant earlier. "I've had great luck with our early planted soybeans," he says. "We are able to get a larger plant by flowering, enabling the plant to keep a higher percentage of those flowers to later turn into pods."