Soybean School: Rolling your way to higher yields


Can rolling soybeans pump up your yields?

If you get the timing right it looks like there’s a two bu/ac payoff, according to research conducted this summer by OMAFRA soybean specialist Horst Bohner.

In this edition of RealAgriculture Soybean School. Bohner explains that growers traditionally get a 0.5 bu/ac return on rolling due to better combine efficiency, but if growers are patient and can wait until first trifoliate, rolling can produce a two-bushel yield response.

During the 2017 growing season, Bohner conducted trials at four research sites across Ontario where he rolled beans at a range of timings – from immediately after seeding all the way up to third trifoliate.

The fundamental idea is to somehow induce a response that will cause the plant to become more bushy and produce more nodes. This is exactly how healthy plants in Bohner’s trials responded to being pushed down and rolled. He says the most interesting results were achieved when rolling at first trifoliate. At this timing, a two-bushel response was seen consistently across all four sites. At later periods, yield response declined and yield was actually lost when the plants were rolled at third trifoliate.

Two bushels is statistically significantly, notes Bohner. “It makes you wonder what else we can do that’s relatively simple to stimulate this kind of response to get extra pods and extra yield.”

Click here for more Soybean School episodes.

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