Soybean School: Assessing stand establishment 30 days after emergence

Your soybeans likely well-emerged in Manitoba, which means it’s time to take a look at stand establishment. This can sometimes be an overwhelming task when you are dealing with a few acres.

In this episode of RealAgriculture’s Soybean School, Kara Oosterhuis talks to Dennis Lange, who is the industry development specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, about how to assess your stands around 30 days after emergence.

With his 28-and-a-quarter inch hula hoop in hand, Lange demonstrates how he walks through the field in a “W” pattern to get a good coverage of the field.

“The multiplication factor with my hula hoop is 10,000. What you can do is you can toss these out, and whatever plant number you get in there, and you multiply by 10,000, you’re good to go. If you’re at 14 plants in the hula hoop, that’s 140,000 plants, which is really easy to do,” he says. “You can use different sizes, but then you are dealing with different conversion factors.” (Story continues below video)

Lange notes that you need to drop the hoop randomly, and you need to do it a few different times in the field, to get a proper representation of the field as a whole. He also says to remember when taking a look at stand establishment; it’s not just about the numbers.

“You can have 14 plants in the hula hoop, but they are all on one side of the hula hoop. That tells me there are some bigger distribution issues. If you have some challenges with stand, for example in years where the soybean seed is very dry before that seed is planted, it’s cleaned, and treated, and sometimes that rough handling can cause damage to the seed. Instead of having 160,000 plants established, you may only have 80,000 plants established. So you need to determine where those problems are coming from,” says Lange.

He also acknowledges the importance of looking for any damaged plants when you are checking establishment.

“One of the challenges that we are running into this year is that we’ve had a lot of wind, and recently there have been some storms that have moved through. Growers are having some concerns about how many plants they have left, because some of those plants may have gotten beaten up pretty bad, and some may have gotten sheared off if you are in sandy soil,” he explains. “When you are doing your stand count, you have to look at your healthy plants and determine whether there are some unhealthy ones in there that have been shaved off.”

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