Top 10 Tips for Soybean Yields

image shows soybean harvest into hopperLooking to secure the best yields and ROI from your soybeans? These top 10 tips can help you add bushels and profits and achieve the best soybean outcomes.

Trait selection – Soybean varieties with built-in herbicide tolerance traits can significantly improve management of tough-to-control weeds. Traits for disease resistance can protect your soybeans from yield-robbing diseases. Consider your goals and the history of weed and disease pressures in your fields when selecting traits.

Genetics – The process of selecting soybean seed varieties requires careful evaluation. Select varieties and maturity groups that fit your individual fields and area for highest yield and return on investment. Combine new soybean genetics with your tried-and-true varieties. Base your decisions on your previous growing season results, your seed dealers’ recommendation and any recent university extension variety research trials in your area.

Seed treatments Protect your seed investment with a professionally applied seed treatment, providing protection against early season yield robbers such as fungi, insects and nematodes. Seed protection is an easy, economical input for risk management to help assure your soybean crop gets off to a good start and continues with robust growth leading to strong yields.

Season-long weed control – Start early and continue through canopy closure. Plant into weed-free fields, and use pre-plant and pre-emergence residual herbicides to help your soybean crop start clean. Plan a timely postemergence herbicide application before weeds reach 3 inches in height. If weed escapes happen, apply a second herbicide to support a zero tolerance approach.

Soil testing – Test soil fertility levels and sample for soybean cyst nematode populations annually or at least every other year during the fall.

Fertilization Ensure your soybeans have sufficient nitrogen levels to reach full yield potential. Soybeans produce enough nitrogen for maintenance, but supplemental nitrogen may be needed to achieve higher yield potentials.

Planting – Plant soybeans early. Yield reduction of 0.2 to 0.5 bushels per acre per day may occur when soybeans are planted late. Experts recommend planting soybeans in rows narrower than 30 inches to help canopy closure, take advantage of sunlight and help force out weed competition.1

Seeding rates Gauge seeding rates according to planting time. Typically, soybean seeding rates should range from 140,000 to 160,000 soybeans seeds per acre.1 If planting late, think about increasing seeding rates. Check with your seed dealer or local extension agent for specific recommendations to aid soybean germination and vigor. Always plant certified seed.

Scouting Check soybean fields early and often to look for early-emerging weeds and signs of disease or insects. Follow university extension reports for your area and be prepared to respond proactively.

Resistance management Use diversified management practices to manage resistance to herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. Select products from different classes of chemistries that attack multiple, effective sites of action. Refer to sources such as extension and Herbicide Resistance Action Committee (HRAC) recommendations. Mechanical and cultural practices such as tillage and crop rotation can also help.


soybean harvest through fieldsIntegrated Weed Management

A well-thought-out herbicide program, using multiple sites of action and cultural practices, should be implemented to manage weeds.

Recent university research indicates that growers can control weeds and manage resistance by tankmixing more than two effective sites of action. The difference was significant. “A field in which 2.5 MOA per application were used was 83 times less likely to select glyphosate-resistant waterhemp within 4-6 years than a field in which only 1.5 MOA per application were used.”2


Soybean Disease Management

A well-thought-out disease-management program, including best management practices, proper seed selection and protection, and fungicide applications using multiple modes of action should be implemented to sustainably manage diseases.

Bayer offers Stratego® YLD, a fungicide featuring triazole technology combined with strobilurin chemistry for soybeans. Offering two modes of action, it provides both preventive and curative benefits and systemic movement to provide broad-spectrum, long-lasting disease control and higher yield potential. Trials show that when applied at early flowering, around growth stage R3, Stratego YLD can deliver an average yield increase of 3 to 4 bushels per acre over untreated soybean fields. For cost efficiency, fungicides can be tankmixed with insecticides and applied in the same trip across the field. Before applying any fungicide, please read the entire label for the best possible results and to confirm that the product is effective on the disease you need to control. Not every product is suitable for every situation, and correct application technique will ensure the best results.

Before purchasing seed, selecting a seed treatment or applying any fungicide, please read the entire label for the best possible results and to confirm that the product is effective on the disease you need to control. Not every product is suitable for every situation, and correct application technique will ensure the best results.


Insect Management

The best approach to managing insect pests in soybean is preventive control.

Starting off with a good seed treatment is an excellent way to control insects and protect soybean plants above and below the ground. 

Once the soybean crop is established, growers should scout for insect pest infestations and use Bayer foliar products. Baythroid® XL, a pyrethroid, is active on a broad spectrum of insect pests with fast knockdown and long residual effects.

Leverage® 360 with Stress Shield™ protection enhances the crop’s ability to handle a variety of biotic and abiotic stresses, such as soybean aphids, thereby maximizing yields. Unlike many other insecticides, Leverage 360 moves through translaminar activity to reach the undersides of the leaves. It also safeguards plants from environmental stresses and can be applied in a tankmix with a fungicide.


Bayer Solutions for Soybeans

Bayer offers a broad portfolio of season-long products to help soybean growers achieve the highest possible yield. Read the entire label for best results and to confirm the product is effective on the pest you need to control. Choose the best products to control your specific pests and achieve the best yield outcome. Not every product is suitable for every situation, nor registered in every state, and proper application techniques will enhance results.

For more information about maximizing yields and protecting soybean crops, contact your local Bayer representative.


*Always read and follow label instructions and confirm the product is effective on the pest you need to control. Not all products are registered for use in every state. Baythroid XL and Leverage 360 are Restricted Use Pesticides.

©2018 Bayer CropScience LP, 800 North Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63167. Always read and follow label instructions. Bayer, the Bayer Cross, and Delaro are registered trademarks of Bayer. Not all products are registered in all states. For additional product information, call toll-free 1-866-99-BAYER (1-866-992-2937) or visit our website at www.CropScience.Bayer.us.

Works Cited

  1. "Wisconsin Best Management Practices Guide." Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board. http://www.coolbean.info/library/documents/52618_WI_BMPGuide_FNL_HR_NoBleed.pdf

  2. Hager, Aaron. “Slowing the Evolution of Weed Resistance to Herbicides.” University of Illinois Extension, 2015. http://bulletin.ipm.illinois.edu/?p=3037

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