Thursday, May 3, 2012

Watch Seeding Depth on Soybeans

Chad Lee and Jim Herbek, Extension Agronomists, University of Kentucky

With soil conditions dry in the upper 3 to 4 inches in many fields, farmers are tempted to place soybean seeds deeper in search of moisture. In general, soybeans should be placed about 1 to 1.5 inches deep and no deeper than 2 inches in dry conditions. The more ideal situation would be to wait for a rain and then plant 1 to 1.5 inches deep. However, many growers believe they cannot wait for the ideal situation because of the total number of acres they need to cover.

Soil type and soil condition influences soybean planting depth. The following are our general guidelines for soil conditions and soybean seed placement. Dry, silt loam soils (the majority of our fields at this time) should have soybeans placed no deeper than 2 inches, even if soil moisture is deeper. When planting in sandy soils (very few of those in Kentucky), soybeans should be placed about 2 inches deep. Heavy clay soils require soybeans to be planted about 1 to 1.5 inches deep. Cool, wet soils (not many of those at this time) cause slower germination and soybeans can be placed about 1 inch deep.

For more information on this, see: Soybean Planting in Kentucky.

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