Gearing up for planting season

Tony Nye - OSU Extension

It won’t be long before planting season will be upon us and in full swing. So I thought I would share some information as it relates to soybean production.

During the years of 2013, 2014 and 2015, with funding from Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio State University agronomy specialists measured soybean yield limiting factors on 199 farms across the state.

Here in Clinton County, over those years, we had producers contribute to this project. Data collected included management practices (i.e., crop rotation, variety, row width, etc), soil fertility status, soybean cyst nematode (SCN) egg counts, and soybean yield. The following were the top yield-reducers found from this research:

1. Planting Date: On average, soybean fields planted before May 16 were associated with yields 4 bu./acre greater compared to fields planted on or after May 16. The greatest benefit of planting during the first half of May is early canopy closure which increases light interception, improves weed control by shading out weeds, and helps retain soil moisture. However, make sure soil temperature is at least 50°F at planting. Planting before field conditions are adequate comes with the risk of damping-off, bean leaf beetle, and late spring freeze damage.

2. Soil fertility: A grain yield reduction of 7 bu./acre was associated with soil phosphorus levels less than the state established critical level while a grain yield reduction of 4 bu./acre was associated with potassium levels less than the state established critical level. However, there was no yield benefit to having soil phosphorus and potassium levels above the state established critical levels (i.e., If you’re field is not below the soil phosphorus and potassium critical level, you’re very unlikely to see a yield increase with additional fertilizer applications.)

3. Soybean cyst nematode: Fields with over 200 eggs/100 cc of soil were associated with yields that were 6 bu./acre lower compared to fields with less than 200 eggs/100 cc soil. With as few as 1,600 eggs/100 cc soil, yield losses of 25% have been reported in Ohio. In our research, 80% of the fields sampled had detectable levels of soybean cyst nematode. Furthermore, many of the participants were unaware of any soybean cyst nematode problems in their field. (Often times, soybean cyst nematode infection causes no visible above-ground symptoms.) If you’ve never tested your fields for soybean cyst nematode, we suggest doing so.

There are many other factors that can influence soybean yield, so our soybean yield limitation research is on-going with funding from the North Central Soybean Research Program. If you are interested in participating, see our online survey tool at:

Another report from OSU has to deal with weed management. In a recent blog post on the OSU weed management website,, has information on XtendiMax and Engenia. This includes primary labels and soybean supplemental labels for both products, along with an ODA fact sheet summarizing key aspects and differences between the labels.

They have also posted an OSU Powerpoint that summarizes some of the key stewardship information from labels. BASF and Monsanto have started to provide approved tank-mix components on their websites: and Reminder, anything that will be mixed with Engenia or XtendiMax – herbicides, adjuvants, etc – must be listed on these websites prior to use. The same goes for nozzles, and approvals for these are starting to appear on the websites as well.

Finally this week I wanted to share with you that Ohio State is looking for farmer cooperators and crop consultants to help conduct on-farm field trials for the 2017 field season. The 2017 field season will likely be our last year of field trials before Ohio fertilizer recommendations are updated and/or revised.

OSU agronomy specialists are looking specifically at N, P, K and S in corn, soybean and wheat. They are collecting data from a large number of farms across the state to determine fertilization rates that maximize farmer profitability.

These trials should be considered an opportunity to learn more about your farm’s fertility needs, but also contribute to a state-wide effort for better nutrient management and water quality outcomes.

We can work either directly with farmers, or contract crop consultants and agronomists to conduct the trials and collect data on farmers’ fields. Farmers can choose which nutrient they’d like to work with and will have a large degree of flexibility in the plot layout and applied rates.

OSU has funds to compensate both farmers and crop consultants for their time and effort.

Here is a ranking of priorities for trials in 2017:

• The top priority is for P and K in corn, soybean or wheat. We are especially are interested in fields that test low in P and K.

• The second priority is to look at Sulfur in corn, soybean or wheat as well as starter P in corn.

• The third priority is to look at late season N in corn and to look at N rate trials in corn and wheat.

For more information, please see or contact Steve Culman at or (330) 822-3787.

If you are interested in enrolling you may also contact me at or call me at 937-382-0901 or just go to:

Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for 29 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.

Tony Nye

OSU Extension