Revamping Obsolete Soybean Nutrient Uptake and Partitioning Data


  • Currently-used soybean nutrient uptake and partitioning information was developed in the 1960s (Figure 1):
    • Soybean yields have steadily increased by 0.41 bu/acre/year since 1965.
    • Soybean physiology has been altered through breeding efforts, leading to longer reproductive growth phases.
  • Updated data describing soybean nutrient uptake, partitioning, and removal of today’s higher yielding soybean genetics may impact current crop removal rates, fertilizer recommendations, and nutrient application timings.


Catch container used to collect all fallen leaves and petioles throughout the growing season from each plot.

Research Objective

  • Determine soybean nutrient uptake, partitioning, and crop removal with modern genetics and production practices across a range of environments with differing yield potential.

Study Description

  • Environments:  3 years (concluding in 2016) at 3 locations (Arlington and Hancock, Wis.; St. Paul, Minn.) with non-limiting fertility levels.
  • Varieties:  8 Pioneer® brand soybean varieties within 4 maturity groups (RM 1.0-2.5).
  • Planting Dates:  Early May and Late May
  • Plant Sampling:  Collected at the V4, R1, R4, R5.5, R6.5, and R8 growth stages and partitioned into the following parts:
    • Stems
    • Petioles
    • Pods
    • Leaves
    • Seeds
    • Fallen leaves / petioles
  • Nutrients Quantified:  N, P, K, S, Ca, Mg, Zn, Mn, B, Cu, Fe, Al, Na
  • 3,300 tissue samples are being analyzed that span a yield range of 35 - 85 bu/acre.

Preliminary Results

  • Preliminary results are reported below for nitrogen, but data for all nutrients in the study description have been obtained. Graphs displayed below are for total nitrogen uptake (Figure 2) and partitioning throughout the growing season (Figure 3). For the partitioning graph, the dark black line represents the period of peak nutrient uptake, which is from R3 – R5.5.
  • An 80 bu/acre crop will take up 292 lbs/acre of N, 85% of which will be removed with the grain. Large amounts of N are accumulated in the leaves and then remobilized to the seed after R5.



Total nitrogen uptake as a function of soybean yield.

Figure 2. Total nitrogen uptake as a function of soybean yield.

Nitrogen partitioning during the soybean growing season.

Figure 3. Nitrogen partitioning during the growing season

Research conducted by Adam Gaspar and Shawn Conley, University of Wisconsin-Madison as a part of the DuPont Pioneer Crop Management Research Awards (CMRA) Program. This program provides funds for agronomic and precision farming studies by university and USDA cooperators throughout North America. The awards extend for up to four years and address crop management information needs of DuPont Pioneer agronomists and customers, and Pioneer sales professionals. 2014 data are based on average of all comparisons made in three locations through 10/31/14. Multi-year and multi-location is a better predictor of future performance. Do not use these or any other data from a limited number of trials as a significant factor in product selection. Product responses are variable and subject to a variety of environmental, disease, and pest pressures. Individual results may vary.

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