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University of Minnesota Extension

Delayed soybean planting

Some years, soybean producers must plant at a later-than-optimal date. Fortunately, you can still achieve adequate yields.

Here, we share strategies for soil conditions, seeding rates, planting dates, maturity selection and other factors for success with late-planted soybeans.

Soil temperature and conditions

Wet soils

While it’s important to plant soybeans as soon as possible, avoid the temptation of planting when soils are too wet.

Soil conditions at and after planting usually influence how successfully the crop establishes. Pulling implements and the planter through, or driving on, wet soil can cause soil compaction and smearing.

Smearing and soil compaction

When a planter’s double-disc openers cut through wet, heavy soil, sidewall smearing can occur. This results in compacted soil around the seed that’s difficult for seedling roots to penetrate.

Seed furrows can also open up after heavy soil dries when planting in wet conditions. This leads to poor seed-to-soil contact and poor stand establishment.

To limit soil compaction, keep axle loads under ten tons and properly maintain tire air pressure. This helps the soil, plus it will help your tractor run more efficiently and with less slippage.

On wet soils, use the lightest tractor that can get the job done.

Ideal planting conditions

Soybean has delicate seed, so it benefits when planted about 1.5 inches deep, modestly firmed into the seed furrow, covered by relatively loose soil and into soils that are 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Planting in cool and wet conditions

If you plant in marginal conditions, soybean emergence can almost be eliminated due to even modest soil crusting and the lack of oxygen in saturated soils. This is why it’s important to pay attention to the five-day forecast prior to planting.

In some fields, growers may need two planting dates: One for the majority of the field when it is dry enough, followed by a second planting date to fill in the remaining low areas after they have sufficiently dried.

Planting in cool and wet conditions may lead to poor germination and seedling diseases such as Pythium. Extended cold and rainy periods after planting magnify these problems.

Seeding rates

Table 1: Minnesota seeding rate recommendations by maturity group
Maturity group Maturity group
Group II soybeans 140,000 live seeds per acre
Group I soybeans 150,000 live seeds per acre
Group 0 soybeans 160,000 live seeds per acre
Group 00 soybeans 170,000 live seeds per acre

Late planting: Strategies for success


Seth L. Naeve, Extension agronomist and Dave Nicolai, Extension educator

Reviewed in 2018

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