CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The growing trend is for planting soybeans earlier, and farmers who were able to plant soybeans in late March now report they are flowering.

But do early planted soybeans need any management changes?

That’s the focus of research underway this year by Dr. Connor Sible at the University of Illinois.

“The old thought was ‘Get the corn in then we’ll worry about the soybeans.’ But new genetics, new seed treatments, soybeans are a lot more tolerant of cool, wet conditions than they used to be, so growers are looking at late March and early April to plant beans,”: Sible said. “And we’ve never really done that before so we wonder ‘Do they need to be managed differently than we’ve always managed beans?’

“So things we are looking at are: up-front fertility. Cold, wet soils don’t move nutrients very fast. Do beans need fertilizer, which we typically don’t do in Illinois, to get them off to a faster start?” Sible continued. “Narrowing the rows, trying to get that row closure a bit more rapid and get that foliar interception going much earlier in the year. And then late-season fungicide. You set a good base, then you want to protect those leaves at the end of the season so they can fill those seeds that they set.

We’ve got some interesting things going on. This year, we didn’t get soybeans planted as early as you would like to have tested them.

“Agreed. We wanted to get some late-March in there and our first date this year in ’22 was April 23,” Sible responded. “And then we went again at May 10, and we’re going to look again at May 30 and get that range and at least see how soybeans planted three weeks apart respond differently to these different factors I mentioned earlier.”

You’ve got some soybeans beside us that are 17 days apart, but they don’t look it.

“Yeah. So we planted the first one on April 23, the next one on May 9th, and they came up only six days apart,” Sible said. “And so it’s not necessarily about planting date; it’s when those beans come out of the ground that the yield is going to start to be made.”

Sounds like moisture, temperature of the soil are important there.

“Yes, all of the above, and temperature certainly moves things fast,” Sible responded.