Last fall’s hot, dry, then wet weather created the vulnerable conditions to give soybeans fragile seed coats. Poor seed quality throughout the Midwest could cause lower-than-normal germination rates leading to poor emergence. Due to this, producers are encouraged to handle soybean seeds with caution this year, and University of Wisconsin Extension soybean specialist Shawn Conley also recommends paying close attention to the minimum germination rates printed on soybean bags.

Thin and fragile coats are more susceptible to damage, so avoid throwing seed bags or dropping them. Planting higher populations could also help cover anticipated emergence problems. Producers also need to be mindful to avoid planting the seeds too deep and waiting for ideal soil conditions beforehand. Planting at a slowler pace and running augers at slower speeds can also protect soybeans from damage.

Read more on soybean germination and tips for improving emergence this season here.