Early wheat harvest opens window for double crop soybeans

Wheat harvest is 10 days earlier for many Ontario wheat growers, and that opens a window of opportunity to plant double crop soybeans. But that window will close quickly.

When it comes to double cropping success, there are plenty of best management practices to consider. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs soybean specialist Horst Bohner says planting date is the most important factor. Depending on geography, he says July 1 should be the target planting date. Every day after that will cost growers one bushel of yield potential. That means growers planting on July 15 have lost 15 bushels.

Based on past experience, he says growers can expect between 20 and 30 bushels per acre “if the fall is good.” There is risk — growers can harvest 40 bushels or they can also harvest nothing, cautions Bohner.

“It is a high risk activity — you need a really good September and you need lots of sunshine,” notes AGRIS C0-op agronomist Dale Cowan. “But you can’t help yourself at $18 beans. You have to take the risk.”

RealAgriculture agronomist Peter Johnson adds further context for growers to mull over as they contemplate double cropping: 15 bushels at $18 is as good as 30 bushels at $9.

Johnson recommends growers interested in double cropping to check out a RealAgriculture Soybean School video series he recorded several years ago with Syngenta agronomist Eric Richter. In this three-part series, Richter, who spent years working with growers committed to the practice, discusses whether double crop soybeans are a good fit for your farm and the five keys to success — from planting date and seeding rate to variety selection.

Johnson and Richter recorded the series in a double crop field planted at Ian Matheson’s farm at Embro, Ontario. In the third and final episode they visit the field to inspect the crop before harvest to examine how the system performed in 2016. (See the full video series below)

Soybean School — Double Cropping Part 1

Soybean School — Double Cropping Part 2

Soybean School — Double Cropping Part 3

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