Soybean School: It’s time for variable rate soybeans

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.

Story continues after the video.

“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.

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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