Soybean seeding rate and its relationship with yield has been intensely studied in major soybean-producing regions throughout the U.S. That’s because with the rapid adoption of geo-spatial tools, such as yield maps and variable rate planter drives, growers are now better able to manage their annual seed investment by adjusting seeding rates based upon the productivity of the environment and underlying factors.
Increasing soybean seeding rates can increase plant height and the height of the lowest pods, which can increase yield. However, soybean growers should approach variable rate seeding (VRS) circumspectly, having clear justifications for increasing or decreasing seeding rates in management zones within variable fields.
“Soybeans are a very flexible crop,” said Ryan Van Roekel, Ph.D., Pioneer Field Agronomist. “Variable rate seeding soybeans can really help fill in the gaps in your soybean fields, much more so than corn.”
Van Roekel advises growers to establish a seeding rate that works across their farming operation based upon experience and regional recommendations to maximize yield potential and agronomic benefits, such as stand establishment, weed control, and disease management. However, he also says that growers should follow the trend of increasing seeding rates in areas of lower productivity and decreasing seeding rates in areas of higher productivity.