Do you want to reduce lodging and increase yield potential? Improved standability can be achieved by focusing on two main factors: soybean variety and growing conditions. Identifying and understanding these factors, as well as refining management practices, can help reduce the potential for lodging.
When Lodging Decreases Yield
Lodging is more common in high-yielding soybean varieties and can contribute up to 10% in harvest losses and 30% in yield loss, depending on severity and growth stage. Yield is impacted most when lodging occurs within the R3 and R5 growth stages when the pod and seed develop. Lodging that occurs at R6 and later primarily affects harvestability and plant yield (to a lesser degree).1,2
Variety Selection Is a Balance Act
Variety selection is key when improving standability. Soybean products differ in their susceptibility to lodging. Find a soybean product with a balance of yield potential and standability. Product height can often determine how likely a plant is to lodge. If you’ve experienced lodging issues, consider standability ratings when selecting products, and work with your local dealer or seed representative to ensure you’re placing the best-suited product on your specific conditions. The Asgrow® brand has a wide variety of products tested and created with exclusive genetics for your specific conditions to help optimize performance and yield potential.
Management Practices for Growing Conditions
Don’t forget to factor in growing conditions when looking to improve standability. Highly productive conditions will be more susceptible to lodging due to the higher yield potential with increased plant height and larger mass. Reducing plant population should be considered. Overplanting can cause plants to lodge because plants grow taller and more slender as they compete for light. Optimal soybean seeding rates vary widely based on soil type, fertility, growing conditions, planting date, variety and other management factors. Regardless of what seeding rate you like, lodging is a strong indicator that a lower seeding rate would be better in that situation.1
Harvest Efficiency Tips
Minimize harvest loss by carefully adjusting and operating combines. Always refer to the manufacturer’s manual before performing any maintenance. The following harvest adjustments can help reduce harvest losses when combining lodged soybean plants:
Maintain a ground speed of 3 miles per hour or less.
The cutter bar should be positioned as close to the ground as possible.
Set the speed of the reel to run 25% faster than the ground speed. If soybean plants have significant lodging, increase the reel speed up to 50% faster than the ground speed.
Position the reel axle 6 to 12 inches ahead of the cutter bar. Ideally, the reel should leave the soybean plants just as they are being cut. Set the height of the reel just low enough to control the soybean plants. In lodged conditions, operate the reel as low as necessary to pick up the plants.
The direction you harvest can also have an impact on how well the head will pick up plants. In severely lodged fields, harvesting one way may be justified.
ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Performance may vary, from location to location and from year to year, as local growing, soil and weather conditions may vary. Growers should evaluate data from multiple locations and years whenever possible and should consider the impacts of these conditions on the grower’s fields.
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1 Woods, S.J. and Swearingin, M.L. 1977. Influence of simulated early lodging upon soybean seed yield and its components. Agronomy Journal. 69: 239-242.