When field conditions are suitable, early planting of soybeans can help maximize yield potential. Plants have the ability to grow larger during the vegetative stages and are able to utilize more of the available sunlight and soil moisture. This can increase plant nodes, lengthen reproductive period due to earlier flowering and increase crop growth rate during pod setting, leading to a greater seed filling rate and higher yield potential.
Before planting early, make sure the conditions are favorable to allow your soybeans the best chance of success during the growing season.
50° Soil Temperature
You'll need to wait a little while, it's too cold to plant yet.
At temperatures below 54°, the soybean seed sits dormant and becomes susceptible to diseases, insects and animal predators. While planting early may provide excellent yield potential, it also increases the risk of replant situations or reduced yield potential due to higher risk for damping-off pathogens, frost, bean leaf beetles and potential sudden death syndrome.
57° Soil Temperature
It looks good to start planting, but be sure to check moisture levels as well.
Anything over 54° will help to provide a successful start, but if your field is too wet then you may have increased compaction and emergence issues. Too dry and you could suffer from a reduced stand. Remember to balance the calendar with factors such as temperature, moisture level and the ten-day forecast.
Ideal soil temperatures for soybean germination and emergence are between 77 and 86 degrees*. Soybeans can germinate when soil temperatures are 54 degrees or higher, but may take as long as 2 to 3 weeks to emerge under cold soil conditions. Consider using seed treatments such as Acceleron® Seed Treatment Products for soybeans when planting into cold soils to help protect seed from seedling diseases caused by fusarium, phytopthora, pythium and rhizoctonia.
In addition to soil temperatures, wait for good soil and seedbed conditions to begin planting. Planting when too wet can result in compaction, poor seed placement and reduced stand establishment. Excessive tillage or heavy rain soon after planting can result in soil crusting, which can lead to a poor stand as well. Be sure to balance the calendar date with factors such as temperature, moisture and the 10 day forecast before you start planting.