Soybean School: Corn is King but Soys Can Deliver in Drought


Many Ontario growers are witnessing the punishing affect that hot, dry conditions are having on corn crops, but soybeans are better able to weather the stress.

In this episode of Real Agriculture Soybean School, Ridgetown College, University of Guelph field crop agronomist Dave Hooker takes a look at the components of soybean yield and explains why the oilseed crop can tolerate the extreme conditions better than corn, the king of grain.

Hooker explains that the big difference is that the key components of soybean yield are spread out over a four to six week period while the plight of corn rests upon the weather and condition of the crop at flowering.

Hooker notes that when soybeans experience stress during the flowering phase, “it means that a lot of the flowers could abort, but plants do have the ability to alleviate the stress and compensate by maintaining the number of seeds per pod and increasing the weight per seed.”

Around mid August, growers should be able to get a strong indication of yield potential. At this time, many of the seeds are formed and growers can feel the number of seeds in the pod. “What you really want to do is estimate the number of seeds per plant,” explains Hooker. “Growers can do that by counting the number of pods, estimating the number of seeds in each pod and multiply to get a seed number per plant. Then multiply that number by estimated plant population times the seed weight.”

Estimating Soybean Yield:

Seeds per pod × pods per plant × plant population × seed weight = estimated yield

Click here for more Soybean School episodes.

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