How Late Can You Plant Soybeans?

How Late Can You Plant Soybeans?

     The later you plant, the more dependent you are on the weather.  It’s not so much that we can’t produce a good crop of soybeans planted late, as it is that we are less likely to get the weather necessary to get a good crop of soybeans planted late.


With a May planting date of determinate varieties, we can go through a week or two of poor growing conditions and still get the middles lapped with 3-feet tall plants (to capture as much sunlight as soybeans know how to capture).  With later planting dates, we don’t have that luxury, but we’re likely to get a week or two of unproductive weather anyway.


60 Bu/A soybeans planted in July are possible in NC.  We’ve done it twice with on-farm tests.  What’s not likely with July planting dates is getting middles lapped with 3-feet tall plants.  We’ve done it twice.  So if you can get the growth, you can get very respectable yields.  Not contest-winning yields, since the later planted crop will have fewer hours of sunlight to work with than a May planted crop, but respectable yields.


What do you tell the farmer who wants your advice on whether he is or is not likely to produce more dollars worth of soybeans than what it costs him to produce that crop?  For most of NC most of the time, I think he needs some justification in addition to the profitability of the crop to warrant planting after the 4th of July.  The field in front of Mama’s house gets planted.  So does the one in front of your own house.  The field that all the neighbors see and know is yours, especially in parts of the state where renting land is easier said than done, gets planted.  Until time runs out, the better soil gets planted first.  It has the best chance of being profitable.


  Courtesy Jim Dunphy