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University of Minnesota Extension

When and how to plant soybean

Unseasonably cold temperatures, wet conditions and snow can impact soybean planting in much of the Upper Midwest. Here, we outline the key factors for successful soybean planting.

Weather and soil conditions

Pay attention to the five-day forecast prior to planting, and avoid planting when the near-term forecast calls for extreme cold and wet weather.

The lack of oxygen in saturated soils and the formation of a soil crust of even modest strength can almost eliminate soybean emergence.

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

Planting date

In Minnesota, planting soybean on May 10 results in an average yield loss of only 2 percent, compared to a 3 percent yield loss for May 15 and a 6 percent yield loss for May 20.

How planting date affects soybean yield potential

Planting date Yield loss Yield potentia
May 1 0% 100% of maximum
May 5 1% 99% of maximum
May 10 2% 98% of maximum
May 15 3% 97% of maximum
May 20 6% 94% of maximum
May 25 9% 91% of maximum
May 30 13% 87% of maximum
June 4 18% 82% of maximum
June 9 24% 76% of maximum
June 14 30% 70% of maximum

Soybean maturity

Recent planting date research at the University of Minnesota supports the historical planting date data shown above. However, we’ve found that soybean maturity somewhat affects the rate of yield loss.


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

Reviewed in 2018

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