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No-Tilling Soybeans ahead of corn may not be for everyone. But in some Corn Belt regions, however, yield advantages combined with other benefits are attracting more interest in no-tilling beans as early as the last week of March.
Paul Jasa, a University of Nebraska agricultural engineer, has been evaluating early planted beans in Nebraska over the last few years. He has observed respectable yield performance.
No-tilling planting dates have differed, but from the earliest to the latest planted, Jasa has seen a yield advantage of as much as 13 bushels per acre. “On average, there’s a 5 bushel per acre advantage when planting beans a month earlier (than normal),” he says.
In addition to potential yield advantages, no-tilling beans early also offers you considerable time savings. Jasa says it especially widens your no-tilling window.
“This extra time can help farmers cover larger amounts of acres with the same equipment,” he says.
Equipment and labor can also be used more efficiently. “If you have a single piece of equipment, early planting makes sense. If you have two operators pulling a no-till planter and a no-till drill, then you probably don’t need to plant as early,” says Jasa.
No-tilling earlier also frees up more time in May when some farmers may be involved with other tasks, such as hay production or livestock operations.
Another advantage of no-tilling soybeans early may be spreading your risk. If, for example, a farmer planted a third of his beans early and the other…