Soybean Plant Population Rates
Current soybean seeding rates in the Maritime Provinces are usually in the Range of 180,000-200,000 seeds per acre. Recent research out of Wisconsin and Ontario has shown a positive yield response with much lower seeding rates. Seeding rates of 130,000 to 190,000 seeds per acre where tested from 2015 to 2017, by Jack Van Roestel at Perennia, showing very little yield difference between seeding rates. These reports can be seen here.
Lowering seeding rates can drastically reduce input cost on soybeans. Seed is the largest input cost a producer will encounter when growing soybeans. Lower seeding rates will also allow the canopy to dry out faster; decreasing incidence and severity of diseases like sclerotinia white mold, pod and stem blight and bacterial spot.
Perennia Field Crops Specialist, Sonny Murray, has been working with Nick Degraaf of Applefeather Farms with funding from the Atlantic Grains Council to determine how low it is possible to go with soybean seeding rates. In the spring of 2018, plots were planted to access seeding rates of 150,000, 130,000, 110,00 and 90,000 seeds per acre. Final plant stands, yields and protein will be recorded to access the viability of the lower seeding rates. This data will be compiled with other sites across the Maritime Provinces to make a robust data set. With the large data set, firm guidelines can be set that producers can use on their farming operation.
The soybeans are just emerging from the soil. Preliminary results will be available as the data is analyzed during the winter of 2019, so stay tuned.