Diagnosing early soybean stand losses

By Stephanie Karhoff, Ohio State University Extension Field Specialist
Early season scouting sets the stage for a successful crop but determining the culprit(s) behind stand losses can be difficult. Cool temperatures, planting issues, soil crusting, seed, and seedling disease, herbicide damage, and insect injury can all cause delayed emergence and thin stands. The key is to scout early and identify the issue before replanting or making other management decisions.

When scouting fields, first ask yourself if the problem is occurring in a pattern or scattered randomly through the field. For example, do thin stands correspond to low-lying or poorly drained areas? This may indicate flooding injury or damping off from fungal-like pathogens like Pythium and Phytophthora spp. that thrive in wet conditions. Next, consider recent weather and soil conditions. A heavy rainfall event followed by a warm, dry period can cause soil crusting, reducing stands and plant vigor. Next, assess individual plants throughout the entire field.… Continue reading