Optimizing Planting Date and Maturing Group 
Soybean producers and consultants have been trying to push the yield limits on modern, high-yielding soybean varieties in recent years. One means of improving yields is by being strategic about planting timing and maturity group selection, which play a major role in achieving maximum yield potential in a given year. Weather is ultimately the driving factor for deciding when field activities take place in North Carolina, making it nearly impossible for growers to stick to a strict planting and management calendar.

However, the more we understand the relationship between maturity group, planting date, and weather patterns, the more likely we are to attain our goal of improving yield. The NC Soybean Producers has funded a multi-year study to further understand the influence of planting date and maturity group selection in conjunction with a group of crop consultants across Eastern NC.

Continue here to see the results from the work that was carried out over the last two years across 5 locations in the eastern part of the state. Two in the Tidewater region (Perquimans and Beaufort) and three in the Coastal Plain region (Northampton, Pitt, and Robeson).                                                                                                                   
Seeding Rate
Seed is one of the most expensive inputs for soybean growers, so it’s essential to plant the right amount of seed to minimize input costs while still maintaining high yields, especially in years like this year where prices are low, and margins are tight.

Numerous seeding rate studies carried out across the U.S. suggest that the optimal plant population for maximum return on investment is 80,000 to 120,000 plants per acre. We’ll take a deeper look at some of this research here.

Managing Early Maturing Soybeans 
Growers across NC are becoming increasingly interested in producing earlier maturing soybean varieties (III and IV). These soybean maturity groups typically have an indeterminate growth habit, which allows simultaneous vegetative and reproductive growth over several weeks which is different than the determinate growth habit of most of the soybeans we produce in North Carolina (≥MG5), which stop vegetative growth when they start flowering.

Some growers across the state are very successfully producing early maturing soybeans but there has been limited research conducted on the best management practices for managing these varieties. In collaboration with County Extension Agents and NCSU extension, the NCSPA funded a project to investigate agronomic best practices for managing these indeterminate varieties.

Preliminary results focusing on row spacing, seeding rate, planting dates and fertility for the groups are discussed here, but this work will continue for several years.
NCSPA at the Durham Bulls
Make plans now to join the NCSPA at the Durham Bulls’ agriculture-themed night State Fair Night on June 2. The Association is sponsoring the game to help consumers understand more about what farmers do every day, educate them about its importance in North Carolina and talk to them about soybeans.

NCSPA will have a booth at the game where fans can stop by to try their luck answering trivia questions about agriculture and soy, and get their questions answered about agriculture. Jeff Tyson, president of the board of directors, will participate in a live interview on the Durham Bulls radio broadcast of the game to talk about the importance of keeping agriculture strong in N.C., and Owen Wagner, the association’s new CEO, will be recognized on the field. There will be a soybean trivia contest featured during the game, as well as in several more games throughout the season. Don’t miss State Fair Night at the Durham Bulls on June 2 to support NCSPA and agriculture!
NCSPA Staff & Contractors
Owen Wagner, Chief Executive Officer
Ashley Thomas, Member Relations Manager
Beth Holleman, Accounts Manager
Karen Wing, Communications Contractor
Katherine Drake Stowe, Research Coordinator
Laura Rogers, Outreach Education Coordinator
Copyright © 2019 North Carolina Soybean Producers Association, All rights reserved.

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