Soybean School: Where fixed and flex varieties fit on your farm

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Fixed and flex soybean varieties can have a great fit on your farm depending on the soil type and row spacing.

Last year RealAgriculture’s Bernard Tobin, and Pride Seeds agronomist Matt Chapple discussed fixed and flex corn varieties. In this episode of Soybean School, the two are back in the field looking at how many of the same principles of fixed or flex translates to soybeans.

“A flex soybean variety really has that potential to bush out, (have) multi-nodes, more pods per node, all those great things,” says Chapple. “With that more fixed style bean, single stemmed top to bottom, we don’t fill out the rows or the canopies as good with that fixed style, so (they are) more conducive to pushing the population, much like those corn hybrids that are fixed ear styles.”

In a previous episode, Chapple shows how a variety factors change yield. In particular, how on a rich, high-fertility loam soil, with 24-inch row spacing, the yields were phenomenal, the seeding rate was economical, and the genetic potential of each variety really showed.

In this episode, the plots were seeded at 30-inch spacing, one plant per foot, with less than 20,000 seeds per acre — which Chapple realizes won’t happen outside of a plot situation — but the row spacing has really pushed the genetic potential.

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On sandy ground, Chapple recommends not seeding a high plant population, because it doesn’t make a lot of economic sense if there’s the risk of it burning up or falling over — a flex variety might be the right choice in this situation.

On a clay soil, the fixed variety is better with that 15-inch row spacing, especially if there’s phytophthora pressure.

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