Double-crop soy research aims to increase yields

by | Jun 15, 2018

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Preliminary findings in a research project funded by multiple soybean boards in the Mid-Atlantic region indicate that planting soybean early following high-moisture wheat harvest is an excellent management practice for increasing double-crop soybean yield for growers in the Mid-Atlantic region.
“Other practices help, but are not nearly as important,” said Dr. David Holshouser, associate professor and Extension agronomist at Virginia Tech, who headed the multi-state research project. “Furthermore, early wheat harvest resulted in greater wheat yields and quality.
“This research provides the strongest and most comprehensive data ever developed in the Mid-Atlantic region that supports early high-moisture wheat harvest.”
Holshouser added that soybean following winter wheat is the most prevalent double-cropping system in the United States. Nearly half of Mid-Atlantic soybean acres are planted after small grain harvest.
“Although the advantages of double-crop wheat-soybean systems are many, the late planting date historically results in 10-30 percent less yield versus full-season soybean,” Holshouser said.
The research project aims at increasing yield and profitably for Mid-Atlantic double-crop soybean by evaluating cropping practices that improve soybean yields following winter wheat.
The research evaluated the effect of early high-moisture wheat harvest on wheat and double-crop soybean yield and quality through coordinated multi-state trials across five Mid-Atlantic states, consisting of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and North Carolina, during 2015 to 2017.
According to Holshouser, the research of more than 20 site years is the strongest and most comprehensive data set ever developed in the Mid-Atlantic region that supports early high-moisture wheat harvest.
“The next step is to begin intensive dialog with buyers of wheat and soybean and with dryer manufacturers that will allow higher-moisture wheat harvest,” says Holshouser. “Harvesting wheat at higher moisture (15-20 percent) can increase wheat yield by reducing test weight loss and increasing quality. Additionally, double-crop soybean yield increases by allowing earlier planting. This practice may increase overall double-crop income.
“However, we must recognize that drying costs could increase, especially if specialized drying is needed. Future efforts will focus on an economic analysis and beginning a discussion with grain buyers to encourage them to purchase high-moisture wheat without dockage.”

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