~ Today’s Blog is brought to you by Terry J. Buss, Farm Production Advisor Crops, MAFRD
I get a lot of questions about soybean seeding rate. I think folks should be asking, “what is my live plants per acre target?”. I can provide a solid recommendation on that. According to the latest Manitoba research, the optimum target is around 150,000 live plants per acre. Your seeding rate is going to be unique to your farm, your equipment, your production practices, your seedlot, and the weather at planting and during crop emergence is going to have its say.
Each grower needs to determine their own emergence penalty to factor into seeding rate calculations, I do not recommend using a fudge factor borrowed from cereal or canola production. Soybean emergence losses are often much larger than expected. There is no getting around doing stand counts… but it’s simple and easy, especially if you use air drills.
Get a hula hoop and make its diameter 28.25 inches. Multiply the number of plant counted within the hoop by 10,000 to get your live plants per acre. Do repeated samples in a few fields every year. The results will be a reliable emergence penalty tailored to your farming operation.
Seed represents the largest part of your direct costs when it comes to growing soybeans. For the cost of a hula hoop and some of your time, you will reduce seed costs or prevent low plant stand densities that stop you from achieving optimum yields. Seems like a pretty good ROI to me.