2012 was an excellent year to evaluate the very real opportunity of double crop soybeans in Ontario. A relatively early wheat harvest can open the door to just enough time for a soybean crop planted in early July to reach maturity. With bean prices where they are, it’s a gamble some farmers are willing to make. Research this past summer shed some light on the factors that have to line up to make a double crop profitable.
RealAgriculture’s Ontario correspondent, Bern Tobin, spoke with Dr. Dave Hooker, University of Guelph, at the Southwest Agricultural Conference in early January to get some insight into what decisions a farmer needs to make in order to manage the risk of the double crop beans. Hooker spells out some tips — like variety selection, timing and harvest management in the video below. He adds that harvest management of the proceeding winter wheat crop is very important, as an early harvest that may include drying vs. natural dry-down and straw management (either through baling or careful chaff spreading) can make or break the soybean crop getting up and growing quickly. That early growth is key to the beans finishing.
Ultimately, there is an opportunity in growing a second crop, of that there’s no doubt, but Hooker says that farmers need to weigh the risk of a crop failure against the investment in seed and equipment, and be willing to switch things up at harvest if need be. The yield potential of double crop beans is not nearly that of spring planted beans, and that must be taken into consideration.
If you cannot see the embedded video, click here.