Tips for Assessing Soybean Stands

Taking stand counts and visually assessing young seedlings helps detect potential issues due to planting or environmental conditions, as well as disease or insect pressure. If a field is found to have uneven emergence or a lower than desired plant stand, it is important to determine the cause.

Studies conducted during multiple years by Latham Hi-Tech Seeds shows that planting soybeans on or before June 1 averages 95% of expected yield. Yields did not drop to 85% of what was expected until June 15, so we recommend sticking with your usual maturity until mid-June. If you farm north of Watertown, SD, or the Twin Cities, you may want to switch to an earlier variety a week or so sooner.

Determining the stand count can help you decide whether to replant this season. Below are tips for taking stand counts.Soybeans LauraC

Traditional Stand Count Method

  • Take 10 stand counts in an area of the field with the worst damage. Also take 10 stand counts in a part of the field that was not affected or was only slightly affected. At each point, measure off 10 feet of row and count the number of live, viable plants.
  • Measure 1/1,000th of an acre based on your row width. For example, measure a length of 17 feet 5 inches if you have 30-inch row spacing. Then count the number of live plants in the measured area.
  • Repeat this process multiple times across the field to provide a more accurate estimate of the number of plants per acre.
  • Average the counts and multiply the average number of plants by 1,000 to calculate the plant population per acre.
  • When taking stand counts, randomly select these locations. Avoid selecting rows that represent the same planter row unit. If one count does not seem to fit the other counts, keep that count separate and make note of where that area is at in the field. Additionally, look at emergence uniformity, plant spacing, and seedling vigor.

Matt Graph

Source: Stand Assessments – Soybean | Integrated Crop Management (iastate.edu)

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