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Choosing a new soybean variety? We've done the heavy lifting for you

Read Time: 3 minutes

By Laura Sytnyk October 16, 2023

So you’re ready to pick a soybean variety for your farm, but where do you start? Seed guides seem to multiply with new options every year and it can get a little overwhelming to wade through it all. Luckily our seed selector tool, along with your seed guide, can support you in your search. As you look to book the right variety for the coming crop year, there are a few factors that can help narrow down your choice and make the journey of choosing a whole lot easier. 

Step 1: Find the maturity that works best for you

Trim your options down by focusing on the maturity that you need for your operation. You can find relative maturity and CHU values outlined in your seed guide. To find the best maturity for your farm, you can match your zone's growing degree days to the maturity of available seed varieties.  You can also use our seed selector tool to filter by maturity to help in your comparison. Whether your farm is located in a short or long growing season, there will be a good option available. I recommend having multiple maturity options on your farm to help you space out harvest timing.

Step 2: Factor in your herbicide system

Are there specific weeds that cause your operation issues? Nailing down the weeds you’re looking to tackle can help you choose a variety.  There are several different herbicide-tolerant options available that can combat herbicide-resistant weeds by providing you the ability to use a multimode of action come spray time including Roundup Ready®, dicamba-tolerant, glufosinate-tolerant, and 2,4-D tolerance (Enlist®).

Step 3: Know your IDC rating

Pay close attention to the IDC (Iron Deficiency Chlorosis) rating associated with the soybean varieties you are considering. Even if you’ve done everything right when it comes to planting, weed control, etc., IDC can still cause you major problems. Assess your overall risk of IDC through soil testing and reviewing the soluble salt and carbonate concentrations in your fields. From there, you can then determine how strong of an IDC tolerant variety you might need. You can find these ratings in your local supplier seed guides and the provincial seed guide. You can also filter varieties by IDC management in the seed selector tool.

Step 4: Consider your disease management plan

While going through your product guides you will come across something called the Phytopthora Root Rot resistance gene. This genetic modification made to soybean seeds can prevent certain strains of the disease. You will also see field tolerance ratings which reflect the bean’s natural resistance to this disease. The fungus Phytophthora has a high genetic diversity and is very prevalent in Canadian soils. Since soybeans are susceptible to infection at any time during their growth stages, I recommend learning what strains of Phytophthora are prevalent in your province and then cross-referencing this with the available Rps genes available in our soybean varieties. Varieties that contain Rps genes can offer you resistance to certain pathotypes. 

Step 5: Think about versatility

Ensuring that your chosen variety has the plant structure to work with your farm's needs is very important. Do you plant on a wide 30” spacing or something more narrow? Do you solid seed your soybeans? Plant structure will play a role in determining how well that plant will perform with your equipment and land. Some varieties will show a much more competitive canopy that would be a better fit for wide-row spacing. Some varieties may perform better on a more heavy clay textured soil vs the sandy lands. Pod height, branchy structure, and plant height among others are all items to consider in your search.

At the end of the day, your seed variety should depend on what agronomic factors are most important to you and your operation. We’re here to support you in your decision-making as we have been fortunate enough to see a lot of these varieties in action in different scenarios. With this knowledge, our agronomy team has chosen their top soybean varieties for each location in our seed selector tool to further assist you in your search. Contact your local Cargill rep or agronomist if you have any questions or are looking for more guidance in seed selection.

Find your soybean seed today

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Laura Sytnyk

Laura grew up on a grain farm near Shoal Lake, Manitoba. She says helping out with farm chores really gave her a passion and interest in the agriculture industry. After graduating high school, Laura moved to Brandon, MB, where she received a Degree in Rural and Community Development from Brandon University and an Agribusiness Diploma from Assiniboine Community College. She worked for an irrigated potato and grain farm for a few years which gave her experience with many different crops. New to Cargill in 2018, Laura has a special interest in weed management and a desire to learn more about crop solutions and soil fertility. Laura is looking forward to using her knowledge and determination to help farmers make informed smart decisions for their crops.