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Key points for bumber soybean yields

Agriculture.com Staff 07/18/2007 @ 11:37am

Soybeans took a back seat to corn in number of acres in 2007. For those still growing soybeans, though, this year's futures price run-up to over $9 per bushel, combined with proper management, offers lucrative returns.

Here are three points to remember while planning next year's soybean crop.

Resistant varieties still remain the best way to control soybean cyst nematode (SCN). However, some SCN are resisting resistant varieties.

The culprit?

"Most of our resistant varieties come from the same source of resistance," says Terry Niblack, University of Illinois (U of I) Extension nematologist. "The nematodes have adapted to that source of resistance."

What to do? Match your variety's resistance source with the type of nematode you have in your field.

For example, Illinois farmers can go to the Varietal Information Program for Soybeans brochure and look under the SCN resistance column for the resistance source and the levels of resistance in each variety. Farmers then may match the resistance source against the nematode type in their field.

"Weed control at harvest is not a good measure of successful weed management," says Bryan Young, a Southern Illinois University weed scientist.

That's because clean fields at harvest can be misleading. "Weeds do a lot of yield damage early," Young says. "Weeds like giant ragweed, lambsquarters, and common ragweed can grow in mid-April."

A residual herbicide can control weeds like these and protect yield until a later postemergence glyphosate application occurs.

Wayne Pedersen, U of I emeritus plant pathologist, conducted strobilurin fungicide trials in 2006 where strobilurin fungicide-treated fields showed an average yield of 70.9 bushels per acre, compared to an average control yield of 65.4 bushels per acre.

In this case, it paid to apply fungicide. But looking one step further shows an even greater soybean yield enhancer.

"The Illinois state average was 47 bushels per acre," says Pedersen. "However, even our control yield was 65.4 bushels per acre."

The difference? Variety.

"Variety selection is absolutely critical, and that's something we paid a lot of attention to in the trials," he says.

Soybeans took a back seat to corn in number of acres in 2007. For those still growing soybeans, though, this year's futures price run-up to over $9 per bushel, combined with proper management, offers lucrative returns.

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