Time and Methods of Planting Soybean

The time for planting soybeans varies from April 1 to August 1, depending on climatic conditions, the purpose for which they are being grown, and the variety used. In general, soybeans being grown for seed should be planted around corn planting time in the Northern and corn belt states. Soybeans grow slowly if they are planted while the soil is still cold and wet. Moreover, early plantings often don’t allow sufficient time for working the soil to control weeds. Although planting can be delayed somewhat without harmful effects, if it is postponed too long, (a) yields are often reduced, (b) the oil content of the seed is decreased, and (c) the seed may not mature before frost.

Plantings are made from April 1 to July 1 in the southern states. Later-maturing varieties are generally used in this area because they yield considerably more than the earlier varieties. If early maturing varieties are planted too early in the south, they mature during periods of hot weather and a poor quality of seed often results. Such varieties can be used satisfactorily if they are planted later in the season, as, for example, following the removal of the small-grain crop.

Soybeans that are used for pasture, green manuring,  or soiling purposes can be planted later than when they are grown for seed. Fairly satisfactory yields for these purposes cab be obtained by planting as late as July 1 in northern areas and August 1 in the south.

Methods of planting soybean

Soybeans are usually planted by drilling the seed in (a) a solid stand or (b) rows which are spaced far enough apart to permit cultivation. The method that is used depends primarily upon the purpose for which the crop is being grown, the fertility of the soil, the variety used, and moisture conditions. If soybeans are being grown for seed, they should be planted in rows. The most important advantages of planting in rows are (a) higher yields, (b) better quality seed, (c) greater uniformity of stand, (d) reduced lodging, (e) less seed required, and (f) better weed control because cultivation is possible. Rows are spaced from 21 to 38 inches apart depending on the fertility of the soil and the variety grown. Rows are more widely spaced on soils of lower fertility and for the larger, later-maturing varieties.

If soybeans are grown for hay, green manuring, or soiling purposes, they are usually planted in rows that are very close together or in what is commonly referred to as a solid stand.

Solid stands produce a finer, more palatable type of hay than row plantings; and soil losses are lower when the plants are grown on sloping land. On the other hand, solid seeding are likely to lodge more, they require higher rates of seeding, they yield less during periods of drought, and they are injured more by competing growths of seeds than seedings spaced sufficiently far apart to permit cultivation.
Soybeans are planted with (a) a grain drill, (b) a corn planter, (c) a soybean planter, (d) a cotton planter in the southern states. The grain drill is best for planting solid stands, and it can also be used the satisfactorily for row planting by closing some of the openings. Corn and soybean planters are excellent for row planting; they are adapted to the equipment used for cultivating the crop after it becomes established.

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