Why Grow Short Season Soybeans in Winter Wheat Rotation

Erin EagenKurt-K-1In a previous article written by Veritas, we discussed the benefit of keeping wheat in your rotation. To recap, the studies have shown that in a corn/soy rotation adding wheat can increase yields 19bu/ac and 5bu/ac respectively. This equates to a revenue increase of at least $127 and with red clover corn one could see an increase of $35-109, 9-28bu/ac more.

With that in mind when starting to plan for 2015 varieties, consider the impact of growing short season varieties of soybeans verses full season soys. Most people believe that growing long season soybean varieties gives an increase in yield compared to short season which has been true, however with recent trends and advancements in genetics, short season soybeans are able to yield just as well. Early results this year for short season soybeans are showing a promising 45-70bu/ac. Below we will discuss the benefits and risks from both agronomic and economic stand points of growing winter wheat.

Since harvest has been delayed this year due to multiple reasons, the yield potential from winter wheat is heavily decreased. In Southwestern Ontario, optimal planting dates range from Sept.25 to Oct.10. If planting exceeds these date, there is the risk that a wheat crop can lose 0.6 to 1.1 bushels per day. For example, in the Middlessex County area has the potential to loose, 15 to 27.5 bushels which is equivalent to $78-$143 per acre. If you plant long season soybeans and are delaying your winter wheat planting, you would have to gain a minimum 7.7bu/ac on your soybeans to make up the loss you would incur with winter wheat. As we approach the end of October, the population for planting winter wheat will also have to increase, adding approximately 12% extra cost using certified seed, subtracting even more from your total revenue.

If you are unwilling to attempt short season soy varieties, when following with winter wheat, then consider earlier planting dates for long season beans. There is risk associated with planting soybeans early. One drawback is running into corn planting however, if you are capable of doing both at the same time, this becomes a non-issue. Other risks of planting earlier are having unfit ground, the risk of early onset disease, (pythium root rot) and potential early May frost. Though soybeans can tolerate lower temperature than corn for a short period, -2.8oC compared to -2oC. Note that once the growing point dies on a soybean the plant is dead, whereas corn the growing point is below the surface and has the ability to regrow. The benefits may outweigh the risk. Crop canopy covers quicker, possibly decreasing weed pressure as well as collecting more heat units earlier in the season; moving harvest ahead. Earlier harvest provides a better window for planting winter wheat, and less risk to loosing potential yield.

If you are looking to keep winter wheat in your crop rotation for its many added benefits, using shorter season varieties of soybeans minimize the risk of both loosing yield on your wheat and being able to get your wheat planted in a timely fashion. Not to forget, most importantly the added yield potential to the following year’s crop when planted after winter wheat.

For further discussions please contact your Veritas representative.

By: Erin Eagen(Agronomy Specialist) and Kurt Kouwenberg(Sales Agronomist), Parkhill

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