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United Soybean Board (USB) reports:

For any farmers who have been unable to plant soybeans due to weather, a new soy-checkoff-funded study cautions against switching to varieties in later maturity groups.

Funded by the Mid-South Soybean Board (MSSB) and the United Soybean Board, the study crosses state lines with 10 different locations, going as far north as Columbia, Missouri and as far south as College Station, Texas.

And across this wide geographic region, results from the first two years of the study show soybeans from maturity group four out-yield their group 5 and 6 counterparts, even when planted at a later date.

Click here for more useful production information from the checkoff.

Larry Purcell, Ph.D., professor of crop physiology and Altheimer Chair for Soybean Research at the University of Arkansas, is the principal investigator in the study. He works with cooperators at locations in Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.

"For late planting dates, like when soybeans are double-cropped following wheat, typical recommendations are to plant group 5s or 6s," says Purcell.

"But our results, averaged across all 10 locations, show that group 4 soybeans yield up to five bushels more per acre than group 5's and up to 10 bushels per acre more than group 6's."

Purcell says these results go against many current recommendations. Those recommendations are often based on old cultivars that haven't been evaluated recently and do not take into consideration the change in planting systems for many farmers, like narrower rows.

"This new study and subsequent results better reflect what most farmers are doing now," says Purcell.

In Arkansas, for instance, more than one-third of the soybeans planted follow winter wheat. This means that farmers face a large window for planting soybeans, starting at the end of March and running through early July. This wide range of potential dates was the inspiration for the study, conceived by members of MSSB, who wanted more information on what maturity group to plant on a certain date.

Purcell and cooperators targeted four specific planting dates, from the earliest a farmer would typically plant to what would be considered a late planting date, with two dates in between. For each planting date, they planted four varieties in each maturity group, 3 through 6.

Data already collected will be combined with data from this year's trials to create a decision-support tool for farmers. Purcell hopes that the tool will provide a planting risk assessment based on data collected from the study, long-term weather data and inputs provided by the farmer, like anticipated planting date and location.

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