From the Farm: Early Soybean Planting

The Morning Show

THOMASBORO, Ill. (WCIA) — The early bird gets the worm or maybe an early soybean premium.

Kris Ehler of Ehler Brothers Seed put his early soybean demonstration plot in the ground Wednesday.

“It’s something I’ve done for 13 years now,” Ehler says. “I advocate the early planting of soybeans and the reason I do these ultra-early soybean trials are to show growers are that soybeans are hardier than what we have given them credit for in previous years and also to show the yield advantages of early planted soybeans.”

WCIA asks, why is that yield advantage? How does that happen to be?

“Soybeans are really based off of day length and the early we plant them, the better chance we give them to put more nodes on, more nodes is more pods, more pods is more beans, and simply put, we’re going to put more bushels in the grain tank come harvest time.”

How have those yields turned out over time?

“The last 7 years of the trials that we’ve done in our plot have shown a 9-bushel advantage of mid-to-late April, versus mid-May planting date. So I equate that, I tell growers there’s $100 an acre out there that’s not going to cost you anything to do. It’s free bushels.”

WCIA tells Ehler, “Now that’s mid April. This is early March.”

“It’s high risk, high reward in these scenarios of very early planting dates of March; and in 2017 we had a great stretch of weather like we’ve seen here, and I planted in February and those were almost 90-bushel beans,” Ehler says.

WCIA tells Ehler, “Beans maturing in August may gain a $2 premium at the elevator this year.

“Yes, there’s that as well,” he says, “and the academic will say soybeans are indeterminate growth, they are based off the day length, the sunlight, but I will tell you the earlier you plant soybeans, the earlier they will mature as well.

“And if you’ve got a 2.6 or a 2.8, you plant in mid or early April, you’re going to harvest them more like a 2.4 or a 2.5.

“So yes, you could capture a good August premium on top of some really good markets right now.”

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