Four Considerations for Earlier Soybean Planting Dates

February 27, 2021

Five Consideration For Soil Fertility Planning

Planting date is an important factor for potential soybean yield, and an earlier planting date could be a low-risk/high-return soybean management practice. By forcing the flowering date earlier in the growing season, you’re allowing more time for the plant to grow and accumulate dry weight for the developing seeds.

A 2019 study in Gothenburg, Nebraska, showed that soybean products responded to an earlier planting date, with some products recording their highest yield with the earliest planting date (April 29).1

Table of Average Test Weight (lb/bu) Response Relative to Planting Date

To see the potential benefits of planting early, make sure to keep the following considerations in mind:

1. Weather

Early planting may help maximize soybean yield potential but only when soil and weather conditions are suitable for seedbed preparation and seed germination.

2. Seeding Rate

Finding the most effective seeding rate for your farm is an important factor in potential yield and is a variable to keep in mind when considering an earlier planting date.

A 2019 trial conducted at the Bayer Learning Center at Monmouth, Illinois, studied the impact of seeding rate on the average yield of soybeans across multiple planting dates. The study found a seeding rate of 80,000 seeds per acre makes the biggest impact on early planted soybeans.2

Graph of Soybean Seedling Rate X Planting Date

The optimum soybean seeding rate is highly variable from year to year. Contact your local Channel Seedsman or technical agronomist for planting recommendations for the current situation and year.

3. Use of Seed Treatment

Seed treatments become a must for earlier-planted soybean seeds as soils are cooler and often wetter than later-planted seeds.

A 2019 trial evaluated the impact of a fungicide and insecticide seed treatment and planting date on soybean yield potential. The study showed that early planted soybeans did indeed benefit from fungicide application.3

Graph of Fungicide Impact on Yield by Planting Date

The benefit of a fungicide application will vary from year to year, and individual fungicide application results may vary based on disease presence as well as weather and soil conditions. Consult your local Channel Seedsman or technical agronomist for recommendations.

4. Timing of Seed Treatment

When to apply your seed treatment is another factor when considering an earlier planting date. A 2019 research study conducted to evaluate the effects of seed treatments on soybean yield and final stands at multiple planting dates found that there was a larger yield response to seed treatment in the April planting dates.4

Seed Treatment Effect on Yield Relative to Planting Date

For the earlier plantings, plant survival was notably higher in the plots with seed treatments as compared to untreated plots.

Looking to maximize yields on your farms? Work with your local Channel Seedsman or technical agronomist to help determine the best planting date and management practices for your farm.

To see the research mentioned in this article in more detail, download our 2020 Field Research Book, which features research from 2019. You’ll find further research on key agronomy topics that can serve as a resource for you as you prepare for 2021.

To dive deeper into considerations for early planting dates, tune into our webinar at Commodity Classic. Keep an eye on our social media for registration and event details.


1 Soybean Response to Planting Date, Page 38, 2020 Field Research Guide.

2 Soybean Seeding Rate by Planting Date, Page 56, 2020 Field Research Guide.

3 Fungicide and Planting Date in Soybean, page 54, 2020 Field Research Guide.

4 Seed Treatment Effect on Yield in Soybeans Across Planting Dates

At Channel®, we’re committed to helping our farmers maximize performance and profitability through our research and studies. By providing insights and advice, we’re able to help our customers make the most out of our elite seed products.