Tailored Solutions – Soybean Systems Management

January 3, 2021

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Tailored Solutions – Soybean Systems Management - 2020

TRIAL OBJECTIVE

  • Effective management of resources is required to optimize farm operations. In soybean production, decisions involving seed selection, seeding rate, soil fertility, and eliminating or reducing the impact of plant stressors, effectively determine the productivity and profitability of the farm.
  • Historically, soybeans have not been managed as intensively as corn, possibly resulting in sub-optimal yields and economic losses. Achieving higher yields and profits may require dedication of resources and a new approach to resource management in soybean production.
  • This trial was conducted with the objective of determining the impact of production inputs on grain yield and ultimately the return on investment (ROI) in soybean production.

RESEARCH SITE DETAILS

Location Huxley, IA Soil Type Clay loam

Previous
Crop
Corn Tillage
Type
Strip tillage


Planting Date 5/11/2019 Harvest Date 10/1/2020

Potential Yield
(bu/acre)
60 Seeding Rate
(seeds/acre)
110K, 140K

  • Nine production systems were compared in a high management system trial in central Iowa.
  • A full season, 2.9 maturity group (MG), soybean variety was used for the trial.
  • Plots were planted with six rows per treatment, with 30-inch row spacing, and two replications per treatment.
  • Trial details are indicated in Table 1.


UNDERSTANDING THE RESULTS


  • In general, average yields increased as more inputs were added to the system except in System 6 where the inclusion of nitrogen negatively impacted yield.
  • In this trial, micronutrients zinc and sulfur (System 4 and System 5) improved yield as compared to System 1.
  • ILeVO® seed treatment improved average yield by as much as 3 bu/acre (System 2 vs. System 1).
  • Average yields were slightly better at 110K seeds/acre than at 140K seeds/acre (System 3 vs. System 1; System 8 vs. System 9).
  • Foliar fungicide and insecticide applications improved average yields by as much as 5 bu/acre (System 7 vs. System 1).
  • System 3 was the most economically profitable management program for this trial.


KEY LEARNINGS

  • Except for nitrogen, the inputs used had a positive impact on soybean yield. However, the high input systems were not the most economically viable practices because the extra yield gained was not enough to offset their respective production costs.
  • At the geographical region of the trial location (central Iowa), System 1 is considered the grower standard (the most common practice). Thus, apart from System 6 and System 9, all the other systems produced a positive ROI.
  • Crop yield response to production inputs can be highly variable, often impacted by the environmental conditions during the growing season. Farmers are therefore advised to consult their trusted crop advisors when making such decisions.

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