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Assessing Soybean Plant Stands

~Today’s blog is brought to you by Dwight Willoughby, P Ag / CCSC\

Seeding rate and establishing a viable soybean stand can vary by seeding tool.  Terry Buss; a MAFRD specialist presented material at our recent soybean meeting (December 3, Starbuck) that shows the optimal plant stand growers should target, which is 150,000 – 160,000 live plants per acre.

This final plant population is important regardless if you are seeding with an air seeder or with a planter to reach 100% yield potential.    It is critical for growers to do plant stand evaluation to determine if they are achieving plant stand targets.  Terry recommends measuring plant stands in the spring after emergence, and again post harvest.

Soybeans have the ability to compensate for low plant populations by increased branching, developing more pods per plant and seeds per pod, and also by increasing the seed weight.   However excellent growing conditions have to occur to realize this.

The Hula Hoop method is easy and accurately counts the soybean stand.  Terry recommends a hoop cut to 28.25 inches for this process.

The Hula Hoop method

The Hula Hoop method

 

Multiplication Factors to Determine Soybean Populations Using Different Sized Hula Hoops
Hula Hoop Diameter (Inches) Multiplication Factor
18 24,662
21 18,119
24 13,872
27 10,961
28¼ 10,000
30 8,878
33 7,337
36 6,165
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