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Delaware County-Soybeans

Soybean Field in Delaware County

A big part of my internship this summer is to create an agronomy fact sheet that will be posted on the Nutrient Management Spear Program’s website.  The topic is soybeans and lime application.  A field trial was set up on a farm in Delaware County to provide more information for the fact sheet.

The topic of soybeans and lime came up when an extension agent in Delaware County found that fields that were being planted with soybeans had relatively low pHs and the question was asked if the pH of the soil will actually affect yield.  The target pH for soybeans is 7.0, while the fields in Delaware County were testing at mid to upper 5s.  A plot was set up with 8 reps, alternating with four control plots and four plots receiving lime.  The lime was disked into the soil even though this field was normally no till conditions.

Initial soil samples were taken prior to planting and the addition of lime.  I will be running pH tests on these samples as well as ISNT and LOI.  ISNT stands for Illinois Soil Nitrate Test and estimates the readily available nitrates in the soil.  LOI stands for Loss of Ignition, which through a series of drying steps, can estimate soil organic matter.  Soil samples will also be taken at harvest, where the pH will again be measured.

In mid-July, a team of several extension agents from Delaware County and I went to the field to take several different measurements. We took stand counts, plant heights, and plant stages at five different sections of each of the reps with each rep being averaged together.  The next step will be to take nodule counts as the plants reach the R1 stage.  This should be happening within the next week so there will be more to come on this project shortly!

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