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Maturity Group Research To Boost Yield

As farmers across Mississippi get ready to put seed in the ground, they will find some new research and analysis that will help them choose the best soybean variety.

Picking the right variety is difficult – you have to decide which maturity group, and when and where to put it in the ground to achieve the best yield.

Luckily, a team of Mid-South researchers has the answers to your maturity group questions. This team has taken four years of research – three years of in-field research on a large regional project and another year of data analysis – and put together a list of recommendations for Mid-South farmers, just in time for planting.

At 10 irrigated locations across the Mid- South from 2012 to 2014, the team tested a slew of
varieties in four maturity groups of soybeans to see which ones performed well … and which ones
didn’t.

Looking at the average yield response over all locations for the three years, maturity groups 4 and 5 had the highest yields, especially at earlier planting dates. “The key message is: plant early,” says University Figure 2 - Veronaof Arkansas Professor Larry Purcell, Ph.D.

Somewhat surprising is that for the later planting dates, the highest yields went to Group 4s and late 3s.

The United Soybean Board and the Mid-South Soybean Board (MSSB) jointly funded this research. It included four planting dates at multiple locations, and studied 16 soybean varieties from groups 3 through 6. Using the project findings, a soybean management guide has been put together for Arkansas farmers. The Mississippi guide will soon be available.

But these results have been taken a step further. Purcell and colleagues have created a crop model and developed a decision-support tool called Soybean Maturity, Analysis and Planning, or SOYMAP for short. Farmers can use this tool to determine the optimum maturity group to plant at any location on a specific date.

SoyMAP estimates the profit of different maturity groups for a specific location and planting date.