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Soybean Stand Counts

Posted: June 26, 2012

Soybeans are growing rapidly around the state with early planted beans flowering but a lot of the later planted fields are still filling in. There is still some time now to do some stand counts.

This would be a good time to get some feedback on stand establishment potential for your operation or clientele. During the winter we discussed the potential to reduce soybean seeding rates for those operations that consistently achieve high emergence rates in soybeans and allow them to drop 140,000 to 150,000 seeding rates and still achieve final stands in the 100,000 to 120,000 range. At our field day in Lancaster last week we demonstrated the hula hoop method of assessing soybeans in a high residue no-till soybean field where final stands were just over 50% of the seed drop. For the hoop method, count the number of seedlings in each hoop toss and average over at least 10 areas. Then multiply the average count by a factor based on the diameter of the hoop in inches: 38 inches/5500, 32 inches/7800, 28 inches/ 10200 or 24 inches/13872. Based on my observations this spring, there were numerous fields in this category which would make me cautious of reducing seeding rates in this management situation. At the same time, I see many fields where emergence and stand establishment was excellent, so there is some variation in emergence rates in soybean fields. Soybeans can tolerate reduced stands and still yield well but skips and patchy stands can cause greater yield losses. If applicable, see our discussion in the Penn State Agronomy Guide for replanting considerations: http://extension.psu.edu/agronomy-guide/cm/sec6/sec64b

Contact Information

Greg Roth
  • Grain Crop Management