Content ID


Sponsored: Early to Plant with Yields on The Rise Make Farmers Happy, Wealthy, and Wise

Have you ever considered planting your soybeans at the same time as your corn? What about before your corn? Most farmers don’t consider these options because it costs more to put out an acre of corn than it does soybeans and the risk with corn is always higher, so we always like to get it in the ground sooner.

So, when is the ideal time to plant soybeans? Does your planting population have any effect on when you should be hitting the field? Farmers used to feel confident that as long as they had their soybeans in the ground by June 1 they were maximizing their yield. But is that still the case?

All signs point to no.

Research continues to prove that the optimal window for planting soybeans is right smack dab on top of our ideal corn planting date. For the last five years, Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)® has conducted multi-location research to evaluate different soybean populations, planted at different times throughout the season, to determine not only the Economic Optimum Seeding Rate (EOSR) but also the most optimal time to plant soybeans.

This five-year average data demonstrates that year in and year out, the ideal EOSR (regardless of planting date) is around 125,000 seeds/A. Because soybeans have an amazing ability to compensate throughout the growing season, the branching of the plants tends to increase as populations decrease. This creates more nodes for pod development, and therefore, greater pod counts and seeds per plant in soybeans at lower densities. On average, 60 to 75 percent of all soybean flowers produced will abort and never contribute to yield. This over production of flowers and pods, along with an extended flowering period, offer an escape from short periods of stress throughout the reproductive stages of development.

2.15_Soybean Population_Image 1

The most important takeaway from this study, however, is the $146/A. net return from planting at this population between April 16 to May 15 compared to planting between May 16 and June 15. In 2016 alone, we observed the highest net return at the April 16-May 15 planting date planted at 125,000 seeds/A., which delivered $667.31/A. Considering this research, a recommended best practice would be to plant soybeans immediately after planting corn. Or, if your farming operation has the ability, plant both corn and soybeans at the same time as this data proves it’s going to put money in your pocket.

2.15_Soybean Population_Image 2

In economic times such as these, when soybeans are $10 and corn is $3.50, planting early and at the right population can make a huge difference in your net return. This research not only illustrates that the EOSR when planting between April 16 to May 15 is 100,000 seeds/A., but also that significant losses can occur when planting soybeans just one month later than the optimum planting window.

In summary, early planting PAYS.

For regional data on this study, check out the links below.


Beck’s PFR is the largest source of unbiased, cutting-edge agronomic information in the industry. More than 110 different studies were conducted in 2016, comparing over 150 products across multiple locations to learn how different management practices and new technologies perform in field environments. In evaluating agronomic practices and input products, not comparing seed products, Beck’s PFR aims to help farmers maximize their input dollars and increase their bottom line. To view more studies from the 2016 PFR book, click here.

Practical Farm Research (PFR)® is a registered trademark of Beck’s Superior Hybrids Inc.

Read more about

Crop Talk