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Updated: September 1, 2017
Soybean yield estimates should be approached with caution because the process is time-consuming and the estimates may not be very accurate. There are two ways to improve accuracy. First, sample more than five areas in the field although this means more time spent counting. Second, waiting until the soybean plants approach the R6 growth stage, when the soybeans have green pods with seeds that fill the pod, will provide the most realistic estimate of seed size. The extra time and effort may be worth it for farmers that have re-planted acres due to slug damage. In this case, it would be best to generate estimates for both the re-planted and regular acres. This will provide you with an in-season comparison which is important if this is the first time you have attempted a yield estimate. Also, keep in mind that knowing your yield history by field can help to determine whether the yield estimate makes sense. Finally, yield estimates can be especially helpful for re-planted acres, double-cropped soybeans, and years with unusually severe pest pressure.
The following five minute video will take you step by step through the process. This video is based on Dr. Shaun Casteel’s publication from Purdue University.
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