With commodity prices down, I have heard many growers talking about moving corn acres to soybeans in 2015. Let’s face it, everyone loves growing corn. It has been the money maker year in and year out. But in 2015, soybeans deserve some attention. With the increase of soybean acres, we must pay special attention to our management strategies, especially soybeans after soybeans. Once we start breaking a rotation, we invite some unwanted pests and disease. The key to success here is coming up with a solid management plan and sticking to it. Below are some things to consider when growing continuous soybeans.
- Seed selection– This is where it all starts. Identify past issues in your fields and make sure you are addressing them with proper seed selection. If you have had Phyopthora or SDS in the past, it is more likely to show up again with continuous soybeans. Make sure you are selecting varieties with tolerance to address problems you have had in the past
- Seed treatment– This is a great way to protect your investment and to complement the resistance traits. Consider adding an insecticide if you haven’t been in the past. If you have had an issue with SCN, this may be the time to consider a SCN treatment. There are a ton of different seed treatment options, just make sure you’re a selecting the one the will cover all the bases and protect your seed investment.
- Fertility– Soybeans take a lot of nutrients, especially late in the season. If you have been on a two fertilizer program (fertilize in front of your corn for soybeans the following year) don’t forget about your second year of soybeans. This is where good soil testing practices come in. Take a look at your soil test to determine if any additional fertility is needed for that second year of soybeans.
- Weed Control– This can sometimes be a challenge when raising continuous soybeans. Make sure you identify problem weeds and address them with a solid residual program. Consider multiple sites of action pre-emerge. This will help with resistance management but also make your post emerge cleanup much more successful.
- Disease and Insect control– Often in continuous soybeans, we see higher levels of disease and insect pressure. Make sure you are rigorously scouting and addressing these issues before they get out of hand. There are many product options here that can provide a nice ROI when used with the appropriate timing.
- Planting Date– To maximize yield potential, you need to plant early so there is canopy closure around the summer solstice (longest day of the season). This allows for maximum solar radiation collection. Although planting early is important, choose the fields wisely. If the field is poorly drained, it may not be best suited for early planting and another field may be a better candidate.
These are some tips to make your 2015 season successful. Although these are good strategies for continuous soybeans, they are also good strategies to implement in a normal crop rotation. As always if you have questions please don’t hesitate to call.