Soybean School: It's time for variable rate soybeans

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Farmers are planting too much soybean seed. That’s a conviction agronomist Pat Lynch is firm on.

“What we’re doing is determining the population based on the poor parts of the field because we don’t want to have these thin spots.” says Lynch. While high seeding rates help populate under-performing areas of the field, they produce costly high plant populations in better areas of the the field that are also potential hosts for yield-robbing white mould.

Lynch believes a perfect solution to this dilemma is variable rate soybean seeding – an emerging technology he was excited to see on display at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show at Woodstock, Ontario. In this episode of RealAgriculture’s Soybean School, we catch up with Lynch as he checks out the Pottinger seed drill – Australian technology capable of planting variable rate soybeans.

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“We know we only need 100,000 plants and we also know we have a lot of people who are planting 180,000 and 200,000 (seeds per acre),” says Lynch. He believes variable rate planting has the potential to help growers significantly reduce seeding rates, save money and also improve white mould management.

With the arrival of variable rate planter capability, Lynch says growers now have everything required to effectively manage soybean populations. He notes that growers have already identified high performing areas in cornfields where they add additional nutrients and push populations. That’s also where they can reduce soybean seed rates to save seed and reduce disease with variable rate planting.

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