3. You want to have your soybean crop produce as many plant stem nodes as possible, simply because plant nodes are where the plant produces its flowers, then pods and ultimately seeds within those pods.

The rates of soybean germination and emergence are temperature sensitive, so these processes are slower in cooler soil temperatures that prevail during early plantings. However, once soybean plants reach the V1 stage,  temperature sensitivity is much less given that a new node is produced on the main plant stem about once every 3.7 days (i.e., about two nodes per week), until node accrual ceases at the R5 stage, when seed enlargement begins in the uppermost stem nodes. The node accrual rate between V1 and R5 is not impacted much by the calendar date of planting.

Whatis impacted by planting date is the calendar date when V1 occurs. This is quite important, given that the V1 date establishes the earliest date that linear node accrual can start. Moving the planting date earlier typically results in an earlier V1 date, even though an earlier planting lengthens the number days from planting to V1 due to the sensitivity of soybean germination and emergence to soil temperatures.

Later-planted soybeans simply do not have the opportunity to catch up to the soybean node development of earlier-planted soybeans. Thus, earlier soybean planting can increase crop yield potential by allowing plants to generate more stem nodes. It also induces the beginning flower (R1) stage to occur nearer the date of the summer solstice.