Considerations When Making Early Soybean Seed Purchases for 2014 December 19th, 2013

Date: December 19, 2013
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Linda Funk
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Considerations When Making Early Soybean Seed Purchases for 2014

Wisconsin soybean farmers should consider seed genetics, potassium and a pre-emergent weed program when making seed and input purchases for 2014.

            “Wisconsin soybean farmers face many unique challenges during the growing season, most notably the impact of the weather on planting, growing and harvest conditions,” says Shawn Conley, Wisconsin State Soybean and Wheat Extension Specialist. “The variability in weather can play a major role in determining the level of soybean insect, weed and disease pressure. Making timely decisions during the crop season can be the key to maximizing yields.”


“Variety selection can be the most important factor in maximizing soybean yields,” Conley says. Soybean farmers need to compare variety performance results from multiple sources (university and private), locations and environments. One common mistake can be only looking at local data (your farm, neighbor, county, etc.). Local data, while interesting, only provide a glimpse at how well that soybean variety performed last year in a narrow area. Comparing variety performance over many different environments and factors will offer farmers the best predictive ability for next year’s environment.”

Conley recommends planting multiple soybean varieties to diversify plant genetics. This may be a good strategy in lowering risks of yield loss due to stress factors. Pay attention to maturity groups because later-maturity group soybeans often lead to increased yield; however, timeliness of harvest and frost must be considered.

Once a group of high-yielding soybean varieties has been selected, the next decision is choosing varieties that meet specific disease, insect and weed resistance/tolerance characteristics keeping specific fields in mind.

The 2013 Soybean Variety Trial Results are also available at


Wisconsin farmers need to consider the amount of potassium (K) needed for soybean production.

“Soybeans use large amounts of potassium,” Conley says. “Approximately 1.4 pounds of K2O is removed in every bushel of grain and 19 pounds of K2O is contained in each dry matter ton of straw.

K uptake is reduced in soils with low available K and in compacted soils. Plants deficient in K tend to have weak stems, become more susceptible to some diseases and can be more predisposed to increased aphid population.”

Pre-emergent Weed Program

A well-designed weed management plan can be essential in maximizing soybean yields.

Effective weed control can be vital in minimizing the negative effects from competition for light, water and other essential elements for plants. Reduced weed competition maximizes early-season crop growth rate, which quickens the time to full canopy closure and in turn maximizes intercepted light converted to soybean yield.

Additional considerations for the soybean growing season are covered in the Wisconsin Soybean pocketguide available at