As you may know, irrigation during the early vegetative phase provides little or no yield benefit. But there comes a time each season, if it’s not already here, when you will have to be thinking about irrigation in your soybeans.
Irrigating during the vegetative stages promotes adequate vegetative growth and node development. It is during the reproductive phase that yield loss due to drought stress is most severe. Specifically, the lack of available soil moisture during pod development and pod fill stages of reproduction will have the greatest impact on soybean yields.
Generally speaking, soybeans can use a quarter inch of water per day during reproductive development. With this in mind, stress from lack of moisture between R3 and R4 may result in a decreased number of pods that develop on the plant which, in turn, may result in decreased soybean yield.
With this in mind, the first step in determining when to initiate irrigation in your beans is to properly identify the growth stage of the crop. The commonly recognized soybean reproductive growth stages are as follows:
As always, if you have questions, please reach out to your local Armor Seed Sales Agronomist or your consultant.