Soybean School: Planting prep for yield success

As planters start rolling for the 2021 soybean season, growers will be managing many different planting environments — everything from conventional and minimum tillage to no-till and strip-till.

Each management system will require different strategies but when properly executed (with a little cooperation from Mother Nature) they all have the potential to deliver high yields. On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Soybean School, PRIDE Seeds agronomist Matt Chapple visits four fields where growers are employing these tillage systems in the Chatham, Ont. area. At each stop, Chapple discusses how the field has been prepped for 2021 planting and the management strategies required for yield success.

Chapple kicks off this episode at a minimum tillage farm that was disced in fall 2020 after two years of corn. He notes that the heavy corn residue is welcome, helping build organic matter in the sand soil to manage moisture, but it can pose planting challenges. However, with proper planter set-up and the right row cleaners, he believes the field is set up nicely for high soybean yields in 2021.

Chapple then travels to a nearby conventionally tilled field with a clay loam soil that produced a wheat crop last year. After two fall tillage passes, the high-fertility field has minimal residue. He feels this field is a great candidate for a high management strategy with plans for a 150,000 plant population target on 15-inch rows and a pre-emergent weed control program. If it turns dry, the field is a good candidate for planting into a stale seedbed. If it turns wet, however, the grower will need to practice patience and plant when the soil is fit. (Story continues after the video.)

A no-till field with significant corn residue is Chapple’s next stop. Here he observes that the grower did not use a chopping head to harvest last year’s corn crop, leaving lots of long, standing stalks with much of the residue concentrated near the stalks at the base of the rows. This should allow a planter with good row cleaners and adequate down pressure to do a nice job planting between the rows, he says.

Chapple’s final stop is a strip-till field where soybeans will follow a high-yielding 2020 corn crop. The fall strips, with fall-banded P and K, will be planted to twin row soys on 30-inch centres. He notes that this system is ready to plant regardless of the weather. It’s proven to be a very efficient practice for the soil health conscious grower and Chapple expects strong yields in 2021.

Click here for more Soybean School episodes.

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