Soybean School: Setting your planter for higher yields

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When it comes to strong soybean plant establishment, growers often focus on seeding rates, seeding depth, and tillage.

Those are all important management practices, but Horst Bohner emphasizes the need for growers to also set up and run their planter or drill effectively, to produce optimal plant stands that deliver top yields.

On this episode of Soybean School, Bohner, OMAFRA’s soybean specialist, offers planter set-up tips and shares results of his 2020 planting trials that looked at the impact of downforce, trash removal and coulter depth, closing systems, and planting speed.

Bohner used his John Deere planter, equipped with 7200 row units, to plant and replicate 12 different planter set-ups. RealAgriculture’s Bernard Tobin visited the trials on several occasions to capture footage of the planter in action and how the trials progressed.

In the video, Bohner and Tobin visit the trial and review both plant establishment and yield results. (Story continues after the video.)

Overall, Bohner concludes that growers must have enough down pressure to ensure proper row closure — especially if they’re contending with residue. It’s also important to get at least some of that residue out of the row. Here, Bohner’s research shows the effective role coulters can play; however, he does acknowledge that row cleaners and even pre-tillage is effective.

Bohner’s research also addressed the need for planter speed. “Don’t drive too fast with whatever piece of equipment you have,” he says. “They are engineered to go a certain speed and it’s important to stay within that.”

Click here for more Soybean School episodes.

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