Planting or drilling soybeans using no till techniques can result in top yields. The following is a list of some of the top tips and tricks for planting no till soybeans.
Plant Your Soybeans At The Right Depth
The optimal seed depth is whatever it takes to get soybeans into really good moisture, since it takes a lot more soil moisture to germinate soybeans than it does corn, wheat, or sorghum. Soybeans can usually emerge from 2.5 – 3 inches deep, but this is an additional stress; plant them no deeper than what it takes to get them reliably into good moisture.
On planters, our Valion seed tube guards keep the opener blades at the correct distance from one another so that the blades form a furrow of consistent width. Without them, it is easy to end up with pinched furrows—as narrow as a credit card—which will not get your no till soybeans planted at your intended depth, and there may be dust and chunks of sidewall falling into the furrow ahead of your soybean seed. Failing to get all the soybeans to the bottom of the furrow can cause you germination problems.
For John Deere 50 / 60 / 90-series drills, Exapta’s UniForce hydraulic down-pressure system allows for uniform pressure on every single opener during its full stroke, giving you much better depth control. The UniForce lessens sidewall compaction and hairpinning, creating the best environment for seedling growth and allowing for maximum root growth.
Another tip for John Deere 50 / 60 / 90 drills: our Ninja seed bounce flap helps ensure that more seeds get to the bottom of the trench. The unique, patented forward-bend of the Ninja helps ‘close the gap’ and prevents seeds from bouncing out of the furrow, which is all-too-common with OEM and other aftermarket seed flaps.
Soybean Seeds Must Be Firmed Into The Furrow Bottom
It’s important that the seeds of broadleaf crops are not loose in the seed trench with a smeared layer under them. For broadleaf (dicot) plants such as soybeans, the early path of the roots is crucial. The radicle is the first root to emerge from a germinated seed. This radicle becomes the taproot and must grow downward, not sideways, in order for the plant to have vigorous and healthy growth.
A great technique is to apply the right amount of pressure exactly where it is needed—the bottom of the furrow by using Keeton seed firmers outfitted with our Mojo wire stiffeners. They are a quick fix for limp or aging Keetons with a high payback potential. They improve the self-cleaning action of your seed firmers. If you struggle to get high emergence percentages with your no till soybeans, lack of seed firming may be the problem.
You might also use a firming wheel, such as our DuraLok seed lock wheel to firm the soybeans into the seed trench. The DuraLok is narrower in order to fit in the furrow better, and flexes to follow the furrow (unlike the OEM, which is rigid and rides on the sidewall). The narrow hub sheds mud better and there are no bolt heads protruding to snag on vines and straw. DuraLoks are a perfect upgrade to John Deere 50 / 60 / 90 drills.
Close The Furrow And Crumble The Sidewall
There are many different crop rotation techniques. You may be planting soybeans into corn stalks or double-cropping your soybeans. Regardless of what type of residue is on the surface, you need a spoked closing wheel that will shatter the sidewall and easily shed straw and stalks. Exapta’s Thompson closing wheel does just that, creating the ideal zone for your soybeans to root and emerge in a wide range of no till soil conditions.
“Based on the effectiveness on the Thompson wheel, I had the best stand of soybeans with my John Deere 750 drill that I’ve ever had. And, I never had to change a bearing! I used to spend the majority of my time changing out bearings on the old cast iron wheels. Not this year. Even planting in our extreme wet conditions this spring, I had moderate to very little problems closing the trench. The Thompson wheels did the job: closed the furrow beautifully. I think they even worked better in my double-crop soybeans.”
—Steve Isaacson, Cecilton, MD, John Deere 750 drill