Determining cost-effective inputs to improve soybean yields

Soybean growers may wonder which soybean inputs provide a return on their investment. The following results from a 2011 field trial help begin to answer this question.

Michigan State University Extension educators in the Thumb and Saginaw Valley studied various soybean inputs individually and together in 2011. Soybeans were planted at three sites in the greater Thumb area. The variety NK S19-A6 was planted at one site and Pioneer 92Y51 was planted at two sites at a target population of 160,000 seeds per acre. The final plant count was 132,000 seeds per acre.

Treatments included an untreated check, a pop-up fertilizer treatment of Alpine 2-20-18 applied at 2 gallons per acre on the seed, a foliar fertilizer treatment of Wilbur Ellis NDemand –HIGHEND at 1 gallon per acre at the R3 growth stage, a foliar fungicide treatment of Headline applied at 10 ounces per acre at the R3 growth stage, and a final treatment that received the same pop-up fertilizer, foliar fertilizer at R3, and fungicide at R3 treatments.

Soybean yields with “All Treatments” and the fungicide treatment yielded significantly higher than the untreated check. There was no significant difference between the fungicide-treated soybeans and the foliar fertilizer-treated soybeans. There was no significant difference between the foliar fertilizer and the untreated check, and there was no significant difference between the pop-up fertilizer and the untreated check.

This study did not answer whether the significant difference in the “All Treatments” treatment was due to fungicide alone, or a synergism of the treatments working together. The study will be modified and repeated in 2012 to better determine which treatments attributed to the yield increase.

See the following table for yield and statistical analysis information.

Treatment

Moisture (%)

Test Weight

Yield (bu./a.)

Sig

All Treatments

19.3

57.7

56.2

a

Headline Fungicide

18.5

57.9

54.6

ab

Foliar Fertilizer

18.0

58.0

52.7

bc

Untreated Check

17.9

57.9

51.8

c

Pop Up Fertilizer

18.2

57.9

51.3

c

Average

18.4

57.9

53.3

LSD @ 0.05

1.9

C.V. %

4.3

This project was funded by the Michigan Soybean Checkoff.

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