Finding the Sweet Spot in the Calendar for Planting Soybeans

Finding the Sweet Spot in the Calendar for Planting Soybeans

Some call it early planting, but Purdue Extension Soybean Specialist Shaun Casteel calls it “timely planting”. He says the timeframe for getting beans in the ground has changed over time. The target now?

“Really, a broad stroke of the brush, late April/early May is a nice sweet spot for most of Indiana and most the Midwest. We can even push that up into the middle of April, but if we’re in the late April/early May, that gives us an opportunity for these soybeans in particular to be growing and developing with a few more heat units accumulating,” said Casteel. “What that gives us is more node development. That’s where our leaves are attached, and that’s where the money makers, our pods, are produced. So, if we do that, before we have photoperiod push us into flowering, we have a great opportunity to make up some yield or to set the stage for yield potential.”

Casteel is of the belief that growers should try getting their beans out ahead of corn this year since last year showed us that delayed corn planting didn’t have too much of an impact on yield.

For soybeans, Casteel explains other benefits to hitting that timeframe.

“We get a shorter internode elongation, so we have nice compact plants when this is done. They don’t get tall and lanky. We have more reproductive branches and we actually have longer reproductive duration. So, in other words, we have more opportunity for pod retention and seed fill on the soybean front. Whereas on the corn, again, I think it’s ‘let’s roll the dice’. You’ve got the heat units accumulating. As long as you get those, you’re going to be good.”

Casteel also told HAT that he understands that it’s easy to say here in February that we’d like to have timely planting, knowing that Mother Nature really holds the cards. He says that if planting does get pushed back again like it did in 2019, you should consider increasing your seeding rates, narrowing your row spacing, and looking at maturity group reductions.

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