Growing Quality Soybeans

Soybeans are unique plants in that they have a very unusual and mutually beneficial "friendship" with soil microbes.  In this relationship, certain beneficial bacteria found in the soil called rhizobium form nodules on the roots of your soybean plants that fix nitrogen from the atmosphere to make it available to the soybeans in a plant-usable form.

 

Third Trifoliolate of Soybean plants growing in Southern Ontario Canada imageDetermining Yield

The soybean's lifecycle is broken down into nine distinct growth stages. At each of these stages, the plant is determining certain yield factors such as the number of blossoms it will produce and the number of beans per pod. To maximize genetic potential, not only for yield but also for quality, a soybean plant needs optimal nutrition at each of these critical determining points in its life. For instance, phosphorus and manganese are key nutrients for promoting optimal blossoming and pollination.

 

The Right Fertilizer Program

Developing a fertilizer program that considers your existing soil profile and promotes microbial activity is key to any successful soybean operation. Our programs specialize in exactly this. Agriculture Solutions offers targeted, nutritional fertilizer programs that deliver the right nutrition, at the right time, so your crop can reach its genetic potential. We offer both conventional and organic fertilizer blends and full-season programs to make your soybean crop the best it can be.  Contact us for more infomation on creating a customized program for your soybeans.

 

Soybean Program

  • In the spring, when the soil has warmed to around 14 degrees C, spray a soil conditioner on the soil. Agriculture Solutions offers a number of products that can be combined to create the optimal soil conditioner to meet your needs. Mixing a soil conditioner with your nitrogen can help to chelate (or hold onto) your nitrogen for a slower, healthier and more efficient release to your crops.


    Note: If you are planning to spray glyphosate, also plan on adding Agri-Gro® FoliarBlend to the tank at a rate of ½ litre per acre to lessen "yield drag" and buffer the harmful effects this material can have on your soil's microbial life.
  • Treat your seed with a biological seed treatment that contains nutrients, a microbial inoculum, and biological stimulants just before planting.

    A seed treatment such as SeedStart™ will speed germination and fill the soil around your seeds with soluble, plant-available nutrients that will feed your tender, new seedlings.  Adding beneficial microbes such as Nutri-Life Platform™ or Nutri-Life 4/20™ will heighten microbial activity around the roots of your plants. Microbes will begin digesting soil minerals, releasing them as food to your plants. Over the weeks that follow, nutrient release levels will increase exponentially as microbial populations increase until they reach levels that can build plant health and sustain your soybeans through even its most demanding stages of growth of V3 to R5.

  • Plant with a high quality starter solution such as NTS Springboard™, our Blend 39 and Blend 36 with 100% Orthophosphate, or Agriculture Solutions TrueBlend™ organic starter solution.


    Soybeans should be planted with proper density. Planting with too high a seeding rate adds unnecessary seed costs and can increase lodging and disease. Soybeans should be planted based on seeds/acre not simply by the lb/acre. For most soil types, there is no significant yield advantage to seeding rates over 200,000 seeds/acre. An optimal planting density is 150,000 seeds/acre.. Higher seeding rates (10%) are required for maximum yield potential on heavy clay soils or when using poor quality seed. In general, soybeans should be planted by May 10th to ensure maximum yield potential. Each week of delayed planting accounts for a 3-4% yield loss. While planting at the right time is key, planting with a starter solution is necessary to sustain a supply of nutrients to the plant while your microbial populations are ramping up their production of plant-available nutrients.

  • Apply a nutrient rich, balanced foliar solution at least twice a season but maybe more often based on the crop and the soil condition and quality.  


    About every 3-5 days following the full expansion of the cotyledons, a new V stage will be achieved. When counting trifoliolates, count only fully-developed trifoliolates and only those growing off of the main stem are counted. At the V3 stage, your plants should be about 7-9 inches tall with 4 nodes and three unfolded leaflets. At this stage, your beans are preparing for reproduction when nutrient demand will spike. This is the time to provide quality, available nutrition so your plants can build up energy in anticipation of the reproductive demand. By V5, your beans will have determined the total number of nodes that will be developed which determines the remaining yield potential. Timing is everything.

  • Crops grown on our program typically have higher test weight, better nutrient content, higher sugar levels and better flavor. In addition, you'll experience true dry down, not "die down".


    You may be familiar with bean plants that turn brown long before the pods are fully mature. You'll see this happen first to the leaves near the bottom of the plant. This is called "die down". This happens when your crop is starved for nutrition and literally dies before it should, before the fruit is finished. You can keep this from happening by keeping nutrient energy supply at an adequate and consistent level throughout the plant's life, especially during the stages when it's filling and finishing fruit.

    If you follow our program, we expect that your crop will be more resistant to soil and airborne diseases. However, if you feel you must spray a fungicide, consider the advantages of tank-mixing a shot of Agri-Gro® FoliarBlend to your fungicide at a rate of 1 litre per acre. We think it will give you better results.