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Soybean Considerations for 2020

Nov 27, 2019

Planning for the 2020 season crop is always a challenge that takes a lot of time and effort. The commodity price on soybeans the last 2 years has not made it any easier for a grower to decide on input cost. At CFE we have a dedicated plot system to help our growers make finically sound and agronomic decisions. Our replicated plot system has revisited some of the basic concepts of soybean production by testing seed treatments, inoculants, populations, and fungicides.

1. 2019 Soybean Planting Dates and Populations

There is a lot of discussion on lowering soybean planting populations, so CFE worked with ISU and used the research farm north of Doon to do a trial. Each population scenario was planted with three replications. The plot data combined the early and mid planting date since the trends were very similar. This year the most profitable planting population was 100,000 seeds/ac.

2019 CFE SB Replicated Date-Pop Trial
Variable Yield  
Planting date    
4/26/19 69.3 **
5/16/19 71.2  
Croplan 1788 72.3  
Asgrow 24X9 68.2  
1 70.1  
2 69.7  
3 71.0  
All seed had Warden CX & Preside CL treatment    
All had Miravis Neo + Tundra late season    
**Early planting sprayed at R4
(late planting at R3 timing is more ideal)
may have been too late to effect yield


2. Seed Treatment and Germination

In 2019 CFE put our seed treatment to the test, testing our fungicide and insecticide to make sure they are providing value back to our growers. We had good results across 3 plots in our territory. Even though these plots got planted in June the seed treatment still had a very positive response. Winfield’s study on seed treatment shows the effect seed treatment can have on germination rates, gaining on average 5% more seeds out of the ground and growing. This had a tremendous effect in the spring of 2019 with a cold, wet start that favored many seedling diseases like Pythium and Phytophthora. If the soybeans have a boost to germ faster and get out of the ground quicker, the survival rate is much higher coupled with protection from seedling diseases. It will improve stands and yield.   

CFE Local Plot Replicated Data          
  Treatment Yield Gross $$ Cost ROI
3 Plots Untreated 56.2 $505.80 base  
Average Acceleron F/I 59.3 $533.70 $10.50  
  Gain 3.1 $27.90   266%

3. Soybean White Mold Data

We conducted trials again this year targeting white mold in beans. It has been a significant issue in NW Iowa for a few years now and we need to learn better strategies to manage it. Research has been done on fungicides and a few show some promise. Timing of application is key like it is with any disease and the University of Wisconsin has developed an app (Sporecaster) that is supposed to forecast when and how severe of an infection may occur, so we tried that to time our applications. What I found is the app never really showed much pressure ever building up even when we started to see white mold hit. Typically fungicides are recommended at R1 (around July 1st) for white mold but we tracked it until R2 and decided in one plot to apply regardless of what the app said. The other we waited until R3 (normal fungicide timing) to apply. You can see in the data that we didn’t get much response but there was very little white mold even in the untreated strips for some reason. These plots were placed in areas that should have had enough pressure, but it didn’t hit there this year much.

We also tested a seed treatment called Head’s Up that claims white mold suppression by stimulating the bean’s immune system to put up defenses minimizing infection. It isn’t very expensive and it was a profitable practice this year. It was hard to assess how much white mold suppression happened since pressure was low but it may be something to try in fields with some pressure.  

Contact your CFE Agronomist to discuss these key considerations for 2020. 

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