Soybean Evaluations in Vermont

Soybean Evaluations in Vermont

In the face of low milk prices, it is more important than ever for Vermont farmers to take stock of their operations to see where costs can be cut and efficiency increased. One aspect that cannot be overlooked is feed costs. The first step in reducing feed costs is making sure you are producing the highest yield and quality feed on your own farm. Most farmers look to corn silage and perennial grasses to provide the bulk of the ration and purchase additional components as needed to balance the quality and nutritive value. However, small grains, soybeans, and oilseeds (such as canola) can all be grown in this region and present opportunities to lower purchased feed costs.

Although soybean production is largely concentrated in the Midwest U.S., soybeans can be grown in Vermont and even into Canada. The trick is variety selection. Just like corn hybrids, there are tons of soybean varieties out there but some just aren’t’ suited to our climate. Soybeans, are separated into maturity groups ranging from 000-10, where 000 varieties are the earliest maturing. Varieties in groups 00-1 are suitable for most of Vermont although group 2 varieties may perform adequately in the southern portions of the state or in low lying valleys with milder climates. To evaluate commercially available soybean varieties in Vermont, our team has conducted annual variety trials.

In 2018 we had 22 entries from 5 seed companies in our trial conducted in Alburgh at Borderview Research Farm. The varieties ranged in maturity from 0.07 to 2.4. Soybeans were planted on 25-May and harvested on 12-Oct.

Throughout the season we experienced extended periods of hot, dry weather with only about 60% of our normal accumulation of rain. These dry conditions likely impacted pest and disease populations as little pressure from these was observed. Despite drought conditions throughout much of the season, the soybeans yielded well with an average yield of 3659 lbs ac-1 or 61.0 bu ac-1, approximately the same as in our 2017 trial. The six highest yielding varieties were S11XT78, S09RY62, 5B241R2, S18XT38, SG 1863, 5N211R2, and SG 1776. All these varieties produced over 3700 lbs ac-1. However, the range in yields was dramatic with the lowest yielding variety, CM16-6058, producing less than half the yield of the top yielding variety at only 2,144 lbs ac-1 or 35.7 bu ac-1 (Figure 2). All varieties produced soybeans with similar test weight which averaged 54.3 lbs per bushel for the trial. All varieties produced soybeans with test weight below the industry standard of 60 lbs per bushel. This was likely due to lack of moisture throughout the season, especially during seed fill. These differences highlight the importance of careful varietal selection and monitoring to identify varieties that perform well in a variety of conditions on your farm. A full report from this trial can be found at http://www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/wp-content/uploads/2018-Soybean-Variety-Trial-ReportFinal.pdf

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