How to Improve Soybean Plant Health

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If you are looking to improve the health of your soybean plants, the following tips may help…

Use high-quality seed

The first and arguably, most important tip in producing healthy soybean plants is to use high-quality seeds. Choose seeds from a reputable dealer, who, in turn, sources them from a reputable breeder. The breeder should make sure that the seed is disease-free and has good germination.

Many seed companies sell certified soybean seeds. Certified seed bears the seal of an independent certifying agency to assure you it’s more likely to be free of weeds and diseases than other varieties. They are also more likely to be genetically pure. When buying certified soybean seeds, read the fine print on your purchase contract carefully before signing it to make sure they match your needs.

Fertilisation

There are many different options for applying fertilizer. A common practice is to apply fertilizer before planting, at planting, during the season, and at harvest time. Fertilizer recommendations vary depending on soil type and crop rotation. Consider working with a local agricultural expert in order to determine the best course of action for your farm.

Plant at the right time of year

Soybeans will only grow and bear fruit if they have a minimum of 90 days to develop before the first frost. In addition to having a short growing season, soybeans are also sensitive to cold temperatures. The optimal time to plant soybeans is when the soil temperature has warmed up to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, or approximately 13 degrees Celsius. This typically occurs in late May or early June, depending on your climate and local weather conditions. If you plant them too early in the season, they may be damaged by cold nighttime temperatures that occur before the last frost date for your area. However, soybeans can be planted until July 4th, as long as they receive at least 90 days of growth before the first fall freeze.

Getting planting dates right is important for several reasons:

  • Soybean seeds are sensitive to low temperatures (less than 50°F), and germination can be slowed or prevented by freezing conditions during planting season.
  • Soybean seedlings do not tolerate extreme heat (greater than 85°F) during their establishment period after emergence from the soil surface but prior to reaching canopy closure (V6 stage).

Use good farming practices to prevent disease and pest infestation

The best way to prevent disease and pest infestation is to use good farming practices. For example, rotate crops from year to year to reduce the populations of diseases, fungi, and insects that prefer soybeans. At least three years should pass between crops in fields that are severely infested by pests or diseases.

Good field sanitation is also crucial. For example, remove crop refuse at the end of harvest and burn it rather than letting it decay in the field. This removes overwintering pests and fungal spores that may have spread disease during the growing season and will leave them in your soil for the next year’s crop.

Also, make sure you don’t plant your soybean seed too deeply; this can suppress root growth and increase damage from root-feeding pests like nematodes without actually boosting yields as much as you might think.

Use nutrient products

Using nutrients means less fertiliser lost to the environment so plants will grow stronger, and faster. Preside CL® Soybean Inoculant brings more nitrogen into the plant through additional nodules and increased nutrient use efficiency.

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