Comparison of Early and Conventional Soybean Production Systems for Yield and other Agronomic Traits
The early soybean production system (ESPS) was reported to be beneficial for yield compared to the conventional soybean production system (CSPS) and is widely used in the Southern USA. The objective of this study was to compare yield, yield components, root traits, and shoot traits in ESPS (April planting) and CSPS (June planting) in NC Sandhills using a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population, ‘Hartwig’ by ‘Flyer’ (n=92). The population was grown in Spring Lake, NC in 2008 at a density of 16 seeds m-2. The traits measured were days to germination, days to flowering, plant height, seed weight, seed number, pod number, harvest index, root fresh weight, root dry weight, shoot fresh weight, shoot dry weight, maximum root length, and lateral root number. The survival rate ranged from 83.7 to 90.22% for ESPS; however, it was 21.74% for CSPS. Significant differences were observed for almost all traits measured in ESPS (April) compared to CSPS (June) apart from fresh root weight and lateral root number. An average increase in flowering time of 9 days was observed in CSPS compared to ESPS. On the other hand, several traits showed a significant mean decrease in CSPS compared to ESPS as plant height by 41.96%, seed weight by 74.7%, harvest index by 73.3%, pod number by 65.2%, and seed number by 64.9%. The means for root fresh weight, root dry weight, shoot fresh weight, shoot dry weight, maximum root length, and lateral root numbers are shown in Table 2 for both ESPS and CSPS. The results indicated an average decrease of 40.4% in root fresh weight, of 70.2% in root dry weight, of 68.1% in shoot fresh weight, of 80.1% in shoot dry weight, and of 83.3% in maximum root length in CSPS compared to ESPS. However, lateral root numbers increased by an average of 12.7% in CSPS compared to ESPS. Therefore, CSPS may not be appropriate for soybean at least in NC Sandhills.