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Monday, April 30, 2012

Soybean Row Spacing

This article discusses soybean row spacings.  It relates that about half the Illinois crop is planted in 15 inch rows.  Emerson Nafziger says that 30 inch rows can carry a yield penalty that you might not want to take considering the high price of soybeans.  I cannot cite the research, but in the 80's there was plenty of research that showed the highest yields were on no-till drilled beans.  People with large planters do not like to use a narrower drill to sow beans and as Emerson points out, split row units can get very heavy on a standard 24 row planter.

I like narrower rows.  15 inch is fine, but drilled is great too.  Some do not like the drilled soybeans because of seed distribution, but researchers have found that gaps in soybeans is  not a big deal.  The plants branch out and fill the open spaces.  Another issue is the extra time to use narrower machinery, but considering that planting date is more flexible on soybeans than corn, that should not be a big deal.  Farmers should be doing what they can to gain even a small edge in soybean yields just like they do with corn.  Taking the time to drill soybeans makes sense and hopefully dollars too.

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