The benefits of planting your soybean seed earlier

Seed treatments help minimize risk and heighten reward

Planting soybeans earlier in the season may sound strange and a little risky; however, according to university research, it might not be as ill-advised as one might think. Planting soybeans earlier could contribute to higher yields. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln found yield was highest for early planted soybeans, with a penalty of 1/8 to 1/4 bu/A per day when planting was delayed.


The benefits of planting early


There are several reasons why early soybean planting contributes to higher yields:

  • According to Michigan State University Extension, early planting typically produces more nodes on the main stem, increasing the potential for more pods and ultimately more seeds per plant.
  • The University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that early soybean planting helps build a canopy that harvests most of the available sunlight, especially during crop stages that are crucial for yield formation.
  • The University of Nebraska-Lincoln also states that this larger canopy reduces soil moisture losses due to evaporation by shading the soil surface.


The hazards


Early planted soybeans do face unique risks, however, including exposure to fungal infections while the soil is still damp and cool. Cold soil temperatures can also slow root development and make soybean stands more susceptible to soil-borne pathogens. This is where planting treated seed can help achieve healthy stands and maximize early season soybean growth.


It’s also important to keep in mind other key considerations when planting soybean seed early. Soil temperatures should be between 48 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but with a seed treatment you can go as low as 46 degrees Fahrenheit.


It’s good practice to avoid planting when rain is imminent to reduce soil moisture level, as heavy rain poorly affects soybean germination and emergence. However, some seed treatments offer enhanced germination under tough weather conditions such as cool temperatures. Additionally, be sure to note local recommendations for early soybean planting, as every situation is different.


Using seed treatments to minimize risk


This fall, BASF will offer growers a way to kick-start their growing season earlier and minimize those early plant risks. With its unique four-way disease protection against key soil-borne pathogens, such as Phytophthora, Pythium, Fusarium and Rhizoctonia, Obvius® Plus seed treatment delivers disease control and Plant Health benefits throughout critical early plant development stages.


Helping growers get their soybean crop successfully established earlier in the season, the seed treatment is engineered to provide stress tolerance even in early season planting conditions of cool and damp soil temperatures, resulting in faster emergence and healthier plants. It also enables outstanding early season vigor and plant stands for an average yield gain of 1.5 bu/A.


Another disease that thrives in cool, damp soils is sudden death syndrome (SDS). To combat this disease, which rarely leaves a field, it is often recommended to delay planting; however, delaying planting decreases the potential for a higher yield. With the use of a seed treatment, such as ILeVO® seed treatment, soybean growers can both combat SDS and plant earlier in the season to minimize risk and achieve a potential higher yield.


To optimize the benefit of early planting, it is critical to minimize the risk of damage from disease and increase the plant’s ability to thrive. A seed treatment can combat those hazards and aid soybean plants to become stronger for an overall yield boost come harvest.


To learn more about Obvius Plus seed treatment, talk to your local BASF Representative or visit


Always read and follow label directions.


Obvius and ILeVO are registered trademarks of BASF.


About BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division


With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. Working with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others, it is our role to help make this possible. That’s why we invest in a strong R&D pipeline and broad portfolio, including seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. With expert teams in the lab, field, office and in production, we connect innovative thinking and down-to-earth action to create real world ideas that work – for farmers, society and the planet. In 2017, our division generated sales of €5.7 billion. For more information, please visit or any of our social media channels.


About BASF


At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The more than 115,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of €64.5 billion in 2017. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at