LSU AgCenter soybean specialist David Moseley checks the health of soybeans at the Dean Lee Research and Extension Center in Alexandria. He is completing his third year of research to determine strategies to increase yield and minimize risk. Photo by Johnny Morgan
Finding ways to improve soybean production requires multiple best management practices.
LSU AgCenter soybean specialist David Moseley is completing his third year of research to determine strategies to increase yield and minimize risk.
Moseley has focused his research on multiple areas that are crucial to a good soybean crop. Some of the categories that he has researched include planting date, fertilizer and soil amendments and soybean desiccant trials.
“We wanted to provide more information to growers about the best planting dates in order to produce the greatest yields,” he said.
In 2023, Moseley started planting on April 4 with six planting dates that continued through late June. He planted four varieties for each of three maturity group sections.
“We have several years of data to show that April 1 through April 20 will get your best yields from all maturity groups,” he said. “But there are still some growers who want to plant earlier.”
This year, some growers were planting on March 1, but this planting practice had mixed results because the freeze that came on March 20 destroyed some fields.
“We saw that the growth stage when the freeze hit seemed to make a difference in soybean survival,” he said. “Planting early comes with increased risk since the first planting date covered by crop insurance is April 15.”
Moseley said more research is needed on double-cropping soybeans, especially with sugarcane.
“Cane growers need to get their crop planted as early as possible in order to harvest in time to plant cane in late August and early September,” he said.
Historical soybean planting practices included planting maturity group 5-8 varieties beginning in mid-May to early June.
But that all changed around 2000, when Midsouth growers started using the Early Soybean Production System.
“With this system, they have focused more on growing mid-to-late maturity group 4 varieties beginning in April,” he said.
The second category of Moseley’s research looks at the importance of fertilizer and soil amendments to increase yields.
Moseley has found that adding phosphorus at planting has the potential to increase yields, especially with low phosphorus soil content in high pH areas.
A third area of study looks at the effect of desiccants, which are used to defoliate the crop before harvest.
Moseley is beginning soybean desiccant trials this year to look at the different effects of desiccants on soybeans yields and dry down time. He is also including fungicide applications to see the interactions of fungicide and desiccant applications.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture