Choose Carefully Your Double Cropped Soybean Varieties

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The Pitt County Farm Service Agency has estimated that as many as 9,445 acres of soybeans will be double cropped after wheat is harvested in Pitt County this year. This represents 17% of the total soybean acres that will be planted in Pitt County during June of 2023.

Dr. Rachel Vann, NC State Soybean Specialist has noted that soybeans that are planted after May 20th experience an average yield reduction of .66 bushels per day. This means that soybeans that are planted on June 22nd would be expected to yield 21 bushels per acre less than full season soybeans. Last year, Pitt County farmers estimated their average soybean yield was about 38 bushels per acre. So, planting soybeans after wheat this year would be expected to yield about 17 bushels per acre.

The most requested information by farmers from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service is varietal performance. Increasing yields is the fastest way for farmers to reduce their cost of production and the per unit cost of any crop. As wheat harvest comes to a close, it becomes more critical for soybean farmers to choose carefully their varieties to be planted during the last two weeks of June.

Maturity Group (MG)

When soybeans are planted in mid June, the maturity group that is selected becomes less important. Research that was conducted from 2019-2021 showed that soybeans that are planted in mid June, whether in low or high yielding environments in MGs 4-7 picked within 5 bushels per acre. This means that Pitt County soybean farmers can choose their varieties from a broad range of MG 5-7.

Dr. Rachel Vann discourages planting soybeans earlier than MG 4 in double cropped fields because those varieties will not produce enough vegetative growth prior to flowering to drive photosynthesis. In 2022, Pitt County soybean producers preferred planting MG 5 soybean varieties (43%) on their farms.

Top Double Cropping Variety Criteria for Soybeans

Although maturity is not the highest criteria when choosing a soybean variety to plant behind wheat, other factors should drive June plantings. These include the following:

Trait package – It is estimated that 75% of the soybeans planted in Pitt County use the Xtend Flex herbicide technology. The final choice of a soybean variety must be matched with the herbicide program used on a given farm.

Frogeye leaf spot tolerance – This disease is the leading disease in production today and becomes more of a factor with later planted soybeans. When it is possible, choose soybean varieties that have at least “moderate resistance” to frogeye leaf spot.

Nematode resistance – It has been determined that the southern root knot nematode is the most common nematode in Pitt County. But there are other root knot species are also contributing to yield loss. These include Meloidogyne arenaria and cyst nematode. Lesion nematode is the fastest growing nematode problem in Pitt County but there are currently no varieties which offer resistance to this nematode. This is a reminder to set a goal to collect some nematode assays (samples) this fall in order to accurately determine the nematode situation on your farm. Until this information is collected, it is recommended to choose soybean varieties which provide some level of resistance root knot and cyst nematodes.

Final yield – Ultimately, this is our highest priority when choosing a double cropped soybean variety. Listed below are some of the top soybean varieties as taken from the North Carolina Official Variety Tool. Use the QR code that is listed beside of each maturity group to help you to choose the best variety for your farm.

Maturity Group 5

Maturity Group 6

Maturity Group 7 and 8