Yield Observations When Shifting To Earlier Maturity Group Soybeans
We continue to see a trend of growers planting earlier maturity group (MG) soybeans for the region and managing them at a higher level with seed treatments and foliar applications of fungicide and insecticide. This phenomenon, dubbed “MG shift”, is becoming increasingly important in some locations.
There are many benefits of planting early MG soybeans including, but not limited to, earlier harvest timing, earlier cover crop seeding, and risk management benefits.
The objective of this trial was to determine the yield impact of early MG soybean product selection against the normal MG products for the location.
Research Site Details
This trial was broken into two sets, North and South Iowa, with a total of eight locations – four locations in the north set and four locations in the south set:
North Set – Fonda, Storm Lake, Marble Rock North, and Marble Rock South
South Set – Huxley, Atlantic, Shenandoah, and Victor
Each set consisted of 18 unique soybean products:
Nine products are considered early MG
North Set – 1.1 MG to 1.8 MG
South Set – 2.0 MG to 2.4 MG
Nine products are considered normal MG
North Set 2.0 MG to 2.4 MG
South Set – 2.9 MG to 3.5 MG
The nine 2.0 to 2.4 MG products were the same products for both the north and south sets
The plots consisted of four, 15-ft-long rows in 30-in row spacing with three replications.
The Shenandoah site exhibited above average levels of frogeye leaf spot and insect feeding.
Above average levels of sudden death syndrome were observed at the Victor site.
The Marble Rock North site was impacted with hail on August 28th.
Understanding the Results
The effect of maturity group on soybean yield was variable and highly dependent on the location. For example, Victor saw an 8 bu/acre yield advantage with early MG products, whereas Huxley realized a 7 bu/acre advantage with normal MG products.
In general, three locations (Atlantic, Victor, and Storm Late) saw some level of yield advantage with early MG soybean products versus the other locations where normal MG products gained some yield advantage. However, average site performance across all locations was nearly similar at 58 bu/acre.
What Does This Mean for Your Farm?
In general, early MG soybean products yield close to late MG products, especially when conditions are favorable.
In this trial, there were some unfavorable growing conditions (listed below) in the locations where the normal MGs succeeded:
Excessive rain, wind, and hail
Lower management (no R3 growth stage fungicide/insecticide application)
Finding the proper genetic package for a maturity group is still critical when considering planting early soybeans.
More research needs to be done in the genetic pipeline to better understand which soybean products will move south.
It should be noted that an MG shift may not be right for every operation and that its benefits could be defined in terms other than yield.