Soybeans are relatively new to Saskatchewan with acres that have been growing every year. However, 2017 was one of the driest years on record and we saw some challenges with yields, quality and harvesting. I’ve heard lots of people wonder if soybeans are worth the investment. From my perspective, the answer is yes!
There are many benefits to growing soybeans in SK including rotation, typically low disease pressure, and minimal insects. If you are concerned about growing soybeans going into a drier year, here are a few tips that could take your soybean yields from meh to marvelous.
1. Weed control
This means not just managing weeds, but managing them early. It is extremely important to get in a good pre-seed burn-off before you plant soybeans. Products like Heat® tank mixed with glyphosate can help control any Roundup Ready® volunteer canola. In-crop, use VIPER® ADV with glyphosate early on (before the 3rd trifoliate) to control those same volunteers, as well as other weeds like wild buckwheat that the glyphosate does poorly on. This also provides the added benefit of multiple modes of action to manage herbicide resistance. Controlling weeds early will mean your soybeans have less competition early on for nutrients and precious moisture.
2. Choosing the right variety
For a long time, our mantra has been “the earlier the better” and for us in the northern growing areas this definitely holds true for soybeans. The good news is that we now have more varieties to choose from. For those of you looking at soybeans in the brown and dark brown soil zones, a variety like DEKALB®’s 23-60RY may be a good option as it covers the ground quickly, reducing evapotranspiration. The longer the bare ground is exposed to sunlight, the more water will be pulled from the ground and evaporate into the atmosphere. 23-60’s are a great option for reducing evapotranspiration to help produce those extra bushels you’re looking for.
3. Establish early, but not too early
The target date for planting soybeans is usually around mid-May when the soil temperature reaches 8-10°C. Those first 48 hours as the newly planted soybeans take in water is so critical to successful establishment. If moisture is good early on and we get a stretch of warm weather it may be worthwhile to seed those soybeans a little earlier than that May 15-20 target date.
As soybeans become more established in Saskatchewan our understanding of what works and what doesn’t continues to grow. If you are concerned about it being on the drier side this year keep soybeans among your considerations. Proper weed control early on, picking the right variety, and getting the soybeans in early can mean getting the bushels that you’re counting on.
Heat is a registered trademark of BASF SE. Viper is a registered trademark of BASF Agrochemical Products B.V. Roundup Ready® and DEKALB® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC, Monsanto Canada, Inc. licensee.