The last few growing seasons have resulted in large soybeans coming through the production channels. Soybean seed size has dropped down near 1,900 seeds/lb. for some varieties and seed lots; this is a result of both genetics and the environment. In 2021, the weather in the Northeast provided ample water and heat during seed fill. The resulting soybeans are larger than they have been in previous years and this has raised concerns for planting. Although the large seed may be alarming at first, most planters are equipped to handle such seed. Below are some recommendations for running large soybean seed through some common planters. These recommendations will ensure the seed goes in the ground and proper stands are established early on.
Vacuum Planters – Use the #A42586 108 cell meter, this can handle soybeans from 1,700-3,500 seeds/lb., you may need to be at 12 in. of tank pressure for larger beans.
Feed Cups – Use the soybean seed cup and the standard soybean seed guide to determine recommendations.
Radial Bean Meters – Use the “C” setting, this will handle soybeans from 2,000-2,800 seeds/lb.
Finger Pickup – Use the Kinze brush meters, the dark blue 48 cell seed meter, this is able to handle soybeans from 1,400-2,200 seeds/lb.
AMS Seed Delivery System – The recommendation is to use the 10045-SB seed disc, this has 100 holes, set the vacuum at 17 inches of water, singulator at 8, baffle at 2 and a max speed of 5 mph. The other disc option, the 8045-SB seed disc (80 holes) can be used at a max of 4 mph and will also be a good option for the large seed if singulation issues are occurring with the 100-hole disc. Both discs are labeled for soybeans 2,000-3,500 seeds/lb.
Vacuum – These vacuum planters should handle large soybean seeds with no issue, if you are seeing singulation issues with the standard settings, increase your vacuum pressure.
Edge Vac – The 60-cell disc can be used but this only goes down to 2,200 seeds/lb., this may be an issue for the larger soybeans.
Brush Type – Use the 60-cell disc, GA5794, for soybeans that are 2,200-4,000 seeds/lb. or switch to the 48-cell disc, GA6184, for soybeans a bit larger at 1,400-2,200 seeds/lb. If your beans are on or near the split at 2,200, go with the 48-cell disc.
Planters with Precision V-sets
Planters set up with the Precision Planting v-set meter have a standard 80-hole meter that will handle larger beans, 2,000 seeds/lb. and smaller. Set the pressure at 14-17 inches and adjust accordingly if seed drop issues occur.
Along with these recommendations, remember to add the proper lubricant to ensure seeds flow through the machine with ease. Keep in mind, larger seed may require more lubricant to coat the seed and allow them to flow smoothly.