Soybean Productivity on Raised Seedbeds


  • Evaluate soybean yield and response when grown on raised seedbeds compared with conventional tillage in flat land areas prone to soil water logging.
  • Assess the effect of tile drainage on soybean production.

Study Description

Plot Layout:      4-row randomized plots
Replicates: 4 per location
Factors: Raised seedbed vs. flat
Tile drainage vs. no tile drainage
2012 Raised Beds Locations: Fargo and Prosper, N. D.
      Hitterdal, Rothsay, and Barnesville, Minn.
2013-2014 Raised Beds Locations:  Fargo and Cassleton, N. D.
2011-2014 Tile Drainage Location: Fargo, N. D.
Photo: Raised soybean bed.
Photo: Flat soybean bed.


  • In 2014, when averaged across 3 locations, a significant difference was observed in stand count, vigor, iron chlorosis score, height, and yield between soybean grown on raised beds compared to flat land.
  • These results are similar to trends observed in 2013.
  • During the dry 2012 growing season, there were no yield differences observed between raised beds and flat land.
  • Tile drainage did not significantly affect yield in 2012 or 2014.
  • On average, tile drainage resulted in a 6.3% yield increase over the 2011-2014 period.
Chart: 2011-2014 Yield per bushel for tile and no tile fields.
Tillage Stand Count Vigor¹ IDC² Height
  Plants/acre 1-9 1-5 cm
Flat 109,850 4.8 2.4 58.5
Raised bed 136,850 5.7 2.2 61.6
LSD (P=0.10) 7,525 0.8 0.15 2.7

¹ Vigor: 1 is poor, 9 is best. 
² Iron deficiency chlorosis: 1 is green plant tissue, 5 is dead tissue.

Tillage Yield 2012¹ Yield 2013² Yield 2014²
  bu/acre bu/acre bu/acre
Flat 44.6 30.3 49.7
Raised bed 44.4 33.4 51.7
LSD (P=0.10) NS 2 1.8

¹ Averaged across 5 locations. 
² Averaged across 3 locations: Fargo (tile), Fargo (no tile), and Casselton.


Research conducted by Hans Kandel, North Dakota State University as a part of the 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 4 years and address crop management information needs of Pioneer agronomists, customers, and Pioneer sales professionals.

2014 data are based on average of all comparisons made in North Dakota locations through October 2014. 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.