Precision Planted Versus Drilled Soybeans

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Each day this week we are releasing information delivered at the Soybean Field Day at the NCDA&CS Piedmont Research Station in September for those who could not attend.

Producers are increasingly interested in precision planting soybeans, especially with interest in reducing seeding rate as a mechanism to reduce input costs. This research seeks to understand the influence of planting method on soybean uniformity of emergence, soybean stand, soybean height, and soybean yield.

Research in 2021 and 2022 across North Carolina

  • This trial was conducted 2021 and 2022 in Edgecombe and Sampson Counties
  • Main plot was planter type (precision versus drilled), sub-plot was maturity group (4,5,6), and sub-sub plot was seeding rate (75,000-175,000 seeds/A)
  • All treatments were installed on 15 inch row spacing
  • Data collected included uniformity of emergence, soybean stand, plant height, and soybean yield

Two men on planters in a field.

Preliminary Results

  • Emergence: Planting method typically did not impact uniformity of emergence
  • Plant Height: The drilled soybeans were significantly taller at both locations across maturity groups 
  • Plant Stand: Planter type did not impact soybean stand at either location 

Grain Yield: Yield response to planter type varied between the two locations. In Edgecombe County, the MG4 yielded more when precision planted than drilled. This is presumably due to the varieties ability to branch with more uniform seed placement. Yields were similar between the MG5 and MG6 varieties for both planting methods at the Edgecombe County location. At the Sampson County location, drilled soybeans typically out-yielded precision-planted soybeans. This was unexpected based on previous literature and is hypothesized to be related to root development and stress conditions. 

This work was conducted by Dwight Cauthen, Dr. Rachel Vann, and Ryan Heiniger.