How soybeans rebound from hail damage, and late planting options for Manitoba

If you live in the west, chances are you’ve either tried or thought about adding soybeans into your rotation. With seeding just around the corner,  Kristen MacMillan, research agronomist with the University of Manitoba, spoke to farmers at this year’s Crop Connect conference held at Winnipeg, Man.

Included in her talk were two main topics: one,  soybeans’ response to hail damage; and, two, late seeding of the crop. She also tackled how to make the call on if soybeans are even an option if you can’t get out into the field.

In regards to late seeding soybeans, she says the project came about roughly eight years ago when Manitoba experienced wet springs combined with the increasing availability of early maturing soybeans.

“Farmers I had discussions with, have said, ‘hey, soybeans are maturing earlier than before, we used to have 120-125 day soybeans, now we have soybeans that can mature in 110 days — can soybeans be an option when I’m seeding June fifth?’,” she says.

The study lasted for three years, ending in 2017 and MacMillan says the three sites she used were located in Morden, Portage la Prairie, and Arborg, Man.

In order to find out if seeding dates could be pushed back in those certain areas she says she looked at yield and maturity. “I looked at three seeding dates: late May, early June and mid June, and the effect of those seeding dates on yield and maturity varied by region,” she says.

Can seeding dates be pushed back? MacMillan’s work found that at the longer-season sites, Morden and Portage, crops could maintain 80% yield potential when planted up until the first week of June, but further moving north from there dropped yield potential below that level when considering a late planting.

When it comes to hail damage, current data is largely based on U.S. conditions, and farmers in Manitoba were asking for updated data tables for soybean based on Prairie research.

MacMillan is currently looking at both the type of damage and the severity, from stem breakage and leaf defoliation, to fill in any data gaps that may exist in evaluating hail damaged crops.

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