Soybean seeding rates

Seeding rates aren’t as critical to soybean yield as other factors such as genetics and planting date, but if you’re thinking more seeds-per-acre is better, you might be wrong. And, spending more money than you need to.

Jenny Rees is an extension educator at the University of Nebraska. She says on-farm studies since 2006 have compared seeding rates of 90,000 seed/acre versus 120,000, versus 150,000, versus 180,000. They found no statistical yield differences between seeding 120,000 vs. 180,000 seeds/acre in both 15" and 30" rows.

"Most economical seeding rates ranged from 90,000 to 125,000 seeds/acre dropped," says Rees. "And ultimately, our recommendation with Nebraska Extension is that you aim for planting 120,000 seeds/acre, aim for a final plant stand of 100,000 plants/acre, and based on our research we haven’t seen a yield reduction with that."

Rees says she understands that it’s hard for growers to reduce their seeding rates.

"But at the end of the day when we do surveys, most growers are planting around 150,000 to 160,000 seeds/acre. So, if they would reduce their seeding rates, like 40,000 down to 120,000 seeds/acre, depending on what their particular soybean seed cost is, we found just running our numbers that growers can save around at least $11/acre," she says. "That adds up"

Other universities have similar seeding recommendations so check with your local extension office.

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