Evaluation of land rolling soybeans

Name and Position/Title: 
John Holmes, Extension Field Agronomist, Mark Hanna, Extension Agricultural Engineer, and Brent Pringnitz, Extension Program Specialist

Fiscal Year Submitted: 

POW Title and Number: 
101 Corn and soybean production

Evaluation of land rolling soybeans

Land rolling soybeans is becoming a widely used practice in northwest and north central Iowa.  Persons promoting land rolling of soybeans state that it is possible to harvest faster and at lower cutting heights when fields are rolled.  Farmers need information about yield response to land rolling, injury caused by rolling, and any differences in water infiltration after a field has been rolled. 

What Did You Do?  
Two experiments were conducted at the Northern Iowa Research Farm located near Kanawha to evaluate the effects of land rolling soybeans.  The land roller was provided by Custom Made Products, Humboldt, IA.  Crop injury information, water infiltration information, and yield responses were collected.  The demonstration was included as a stop during the spring field day on June 29th.  John Holmes explained the experiment and shared early observations from rolling soybeans.  The results were published in the 2010 Annual Progress Report.  The effects of land rolling were briefly discussed in CROP HAPPENINGS newsletter.  A more detailed article was written by Willy Klein and published on the Integrated Crop Management NEWS web page.  Preliminary information and our observations regarding land rolling of soybeans were shared with reporters from the Corn and Soybean Digest and Northeast Iowa AgriNews.

Using the roller provided by Custom Made Products, a land rolling demonstration on VC stage soybeans was conducted at the Crop Diagnostic Clinic and the Crop Management Clinic at FEEL near Ames.  Attendees were allowed to bury eggs at various depths in a soybean area prior to rolling, then retrieve the eggs noting if they were damaged or not.  This interactive demonstration generated considerable discussion and many questions from the participants.

Information was shared with University of Minnesota Extension specialist, Jody DeJong-Hughes for inclusion in her presentation on land rolling of soybeans at the American Society of Agronomy national meetings. 

Results from the two experiments were shared with the staff of Custom Made Products. 

Agronomists and farmers learned that the soybeans are not significantly injured from land rolling when they are small.  Our research did show that when V6 stage soybeans were rolled, a statistically significant yield reduction resulted.  Although there were a limited number of trials, this research demonstrated that water infiltration does appear to decrease in land rolled fields.  The demonstrations and interviews with media helped to increase general awareness about land rolling of soybeans. Knowledge about this practice was increased for farmers and agronomists.  The articles in Corn and Soybean Digest and Northeast Iowa AgriNews increased awareness and improved general knowable about land rolling of soybeans.  Many of those attending the Crop Diagnostic Clinic at FEEL saw a land roller operate for the first time.  They saw that rolling VC stage soybeans did not injure them.  They also saw that soil compaction was minimal.  Their general knowledge about land rolling increased.  Thirty-nine participants responded to the soybean management questions on the end-of-meeting evaluation.  Thirty-three percent (33%) rated the presentation as excellent; fifty-nine percent (59%) rated it as good.   Three respondents specifically stated that they valued the land rolling demonstration. 

During the first year of educational efforts about land rolling soybeans, general awareness increased and knowledge increased..  Farmers received research data on injury, water infiltration rates and yield response that assisted in their decisions whether or not to adopt the use of land rollers.

Page last updated: June 22, 2011
Page maintained by Julie Honeick, jhoneick@iastate.edu