Most springs, conversation at some point turns to no-till soybeans and how tough they look compared to their tilled counterparts, and 2022 was no exception. With a record corn crop in 2021 and compaction due to a wet fall, there were challenges to contend with in no-till and some fields did get off to a slow start.
Jake Munroe, field crop soil management specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), followed five different no-till soybean fields throughout the 2022 growing season to see how they fared and to identify common challenges and keys to success. The key take-aways were:
- Seed soybeans at a higher rate (10 to 20 per cent) to ensure an adequate stand under high residue conditions;
- Consider seeding soybeans with a planter instead of a drill, especially when a chopping corn head is used; and
- Soybeans generally compensated for marginal stands with branching; they canopied in the first half of July and flourished in August.
Despite challenges in some of the five fields, they yielded well overall, averaging over 61 bushels per acre. Economic analysis from the top-yielding field showed a gross margin (= revenue – operating expenses) of $800 per acre. This demonstrates that no-till soybean production can be very competitive with tillage-based production when done as part of a conservation cropping system. |READ MORE