Soybean School: Trade the hula hoop for boots and a measuring tape

What’s the gap between your soybean seeding rate and final stand count?

It’s a key management consideration if growers want to get a handle on what’s happening in their fields and increase yields, says Syngenta agronomic sales rep Marijke Van Andel.

When growers discover there’s a 20 percent gap between seeds planted and the final stand, they need to ask questions, says Van Andel. “Why are we losing 20 percent? Is it because of insects or is it because I didn’t set the planter or drill correctly? There’s a lot of things we can learn when we do that stand count.”

When it comes to determining stand counts many growers rely on the tried and true hula hoop method, but Van Andel says there’s a much simpler method growers can use.

On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Soybean School, Van Andel shares how growers can use a measuring tape to measure off 17 feet, five inches of row to determine stand count. She notes that growers don’t even need the measuring tape if they know how many of their own boot lengths make up 17 feet, five inches. As Van Andel illustrates in the video, she requires 19 and a half of her boot lengths for the measurement.

“A lot of the reason we haven’t done stand counts in soybeans is we don’t have the tool readily available that allows us to do a stand count,” says Van Andel. “With this method we can do a stand count anytime we want, anywhere we want.”

Story continues after the video.

Van Andel describes how growers can use this method to determine stand counts in various row widths. In each example, regardless of number of rows counted, a distance of 17 feet five inches is used:

  • In 30-inch rows, count the number of plants in 17 feet, five inches of one row and multiply by 1,000 to get final plants per acre.
  • In a 15-inch row system, count the plants in two side-by-side rows and multiply by 1,000.
  • For 7.5-inch drilled soybeans count plants in four rows and multiply by 1,000. If you’re stuck for time, Van Andel notes growers can count out two rows, multiply by two and then multiply by 1,000.
  • When counting 20-inch row soys, count the plants in one row, multiply by 1.5, then multiply by 1,000.

Click here for more Soybean School episodes.


Bernard Tobin

Bernard Tobin is Real Agriculture's Ontario Field Editor. AgBern was raised on a dairy farm near St. John's, Newfoundland. For the past two decades, he has specialized in agricultural communications. A Ryerson University journalism grad, he kicked off his career with a seven-year stint as Managing Editor and Field Editor for Farm and Country magazine. He has received six Canadian Farm Writers' Federation awards for journalism excellence. He's also worked for two of Canada's leading agricultural communications firms, providing public relations, branding and strategic marketing. Bern also works for Guelph-based Synthesis Agri-Food Network and talks the Real Dirt on Farming.


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