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As soybean prices have increased in recent years, Mid-South growers have been putting more and more emphasis on planting early, says Jeremy Ross. “As we’ve continued to try and optimize soybean planting time, we not only have gone earlier and earlier with planting, we’ve also switched more to early-maturing varieties."
Variety selection is important
“Probably the most important management decision you’re going to make — not just for soybeans, but for any crop — is variety selection. That will have an influence on when you plant, when you’ll harvest, what kind of herbicide program you’ll use.”
Herbicide selection “is getting more challenging every year,” Ross says. “In the past, the Roundup Ready system was pretty easy. With the advent of LibertyLink soybeans and more stacked traits and treatment options, the complexity has increased.
“When considering a variety, the main factor growers look at is yield — probably 75 percent of the selection equation — but you also need to consider the other performance characteristics of that variety in your location and under your conditions.”
Physiological characteristics, such as height, shattering, lodging, should also be considered, particularly in some of the earlier-maturing varieties, Ross says.
“Among the questions you should ask: How did the variety perform in tests near my farm? How consistent was the performance in various locations in wet, dry, and hot years? And in choosing a variety, you should consider disease problems you may have to contend with: stem canker, aerial blight, charcoal rot, Asian soybean rust, etc.”