Soybean School: Scout to evaluate your stand and when to go rolling


What’s your strategy when scouting a newly emerged soybean field?

When Agromart Group agronomist Steph Kowalski walks into a soybean field this time of year, the first thing she looks to assess is final emergence and population. “It’s important to know how well we got that seed into the ground,” Kowalski tells RealAgriculture’s Bernard Tobin on this episode of the Soybean School.

“Residue can also be a big problem for soybeans so that’s one of the the things I’m looking at.” She assesses weed control, especially how pre-emerge herbicides are preforming and whether a management plan for weed escapes is required. In this field, Kowalski is also evaluating the optimal timing for rolling soybeans and the potential yield benefits.


  • “Farming is an outdoor sport and you can have huge variability in your final stand,” says Kowalski. It’s important to calculate your final stand (counts) and compare it to your seeding rate and identify factors such as residue, planter/drill issues, cold soils, and insects that could be impacting the stand.
  • If you are planting soybeans into residue, take a close look at planter/drill performance – there are many options to consider. Should you offset your planter or drill to run between last year’s cornstalks? If you are set up with a planter, should you be using row cleaners to move that residue out of the row spacing?
  • Be aware of the critical weed-free period – emergence to third trifoliate. Take a close look at how pre-emergence herbicides are performing. “With variable and spotty rain this spring we really need to keep track of when we spray these herbicides,” says Kowalski. Most labels require 10 mm to 15 mm of rain within seven days for full activation. “We could see slightly reduced control in lack-of-rainfall areas so get out and scout your weed spectrum and determine a plan of attack if you need one.”
  • If you don’t get a chance to roll your soybeans before emergence, don’t worry. Research from OMAFRA soybean specialist Horst Bohner shows a one to two bushel per acre yield increase for rolling at first and second trifoliate. “Whether you want to roll to push down stones or just make harvest easier, don’t hesitate to roll the beans at these stages in the heat of the day when the plants are malleable – drive on and roll.”

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