what is a good test weight for soybeans


What is a Good Test Weight for Soybeans?


When it comes to soybeans, one of the essential factors to consider is the test weight. Test weight refers to the weight of a given volume of soybeans, usually measured in pounds per bushel. Farmers and buyers often rely on test weight as an important indicator of soybean quality. But what exactly is a good test weight for soybeans? In this article, we will delve into the topic and explore the factors that influence test weight, the significance of test weight in soybean production, and how to achieve the desired test weight for optimal results.

Factors Affecting Test Weight

Test weight in soybeans is influenced by various factors, including genetics, growing conditions, and harvesting techniques. Let's take a closer look at each of these factors:

1. Genetics

The genetic makeup of soybean varieties plays a significant role in determining test weight. Different soybean cultivars have varying genetic potential for test weight. Breeders have been working to develop high-yielding varieties with desirable attributes, including better test weight. Thus, choosing the right soybean variety can greatly impact test weight outcomes.

2. Growing Conditions

Growing conditions have a direct impact on soybean development and, consequently, test weight. Factors like temperature, rainfall, soil fertility, and disease pressure all contribute to the final test weight. Adequate moisture during flowering and pod-filling stages, along with optimal temperatures, promote healthy seed development and can increase test weight. Conversely, drought stress, excessive heat, or prolonged periods of rain can negatively affect test weight.

3. Nutrient Management

Proper nutrient management is crucial for achieving desirable test weights in soybeans. Nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium play essential roles in plant growth and development. A balanced fertility program helps ensure that soybeans receive the necessary nutrients at the right time. Imbalances or deficiencies can impair seed development and reduce test weight. Soil testing and consulting with agricultural experts can help farmers determine the appropriate nutrient management practices for their soybean fields.

4. Pest and Disease Management

Pests and diseases can significantly impact soybean plants, leading to reduced test weights. Insects like aphids, stink bugs, and caterpillars can cause direct damage to seeds, affecting their weight and quality. Diseases such as fungal infections, bacterial blights, and viral infections can also impact seed development. Employing integrated pest management strategies and timely disease control measures are crucial to preventing yield losses and maintaining optimal test weight.

5. Harvesting Techniques

Harvesting practices can affect test weight due to factors like seed damage and foreign material inclusion. Careful attention should be given to harvesting equipment settings, such as combine cylinder speed, concave clearance, and fan speed. Adjustments should be made to minimize seed coat damage and separation of smaller, lightweight seeds. Additionally, proper cleaning of harvested soybeans can remove foreign material, improving the overall test weight.

The Significance of Test Weight

The test weight of soybeans is an essential quality indicator for both farmers and buyers. Here are some reasons why test weight holds significance:

1. Market Value

Test weight is closely associated with the market value of soybeans. Buyers, including grain elevators, processors, and feed manufacturers, often establish price discounts or premiums based on test weight criteria. Higher test weights are generally preferred, as it indicates denser and potentially higher-quality soybeans. Therefore, understanding the desired test weight range can help farmers negotiate better prices for their soybean crops.

2. Storage and Handling

Soybeans with higher test weights are denser, which means they occupy less volume for the same weight. This characteristic makes them easier to handle and store. High test weight soybeans are less prone to settling, creating air pockets, or bridging in storage bins, reducing the risk of spoilage. Consequently, maintaining an optimal test weight is crucial for preserving the quality and marketability of stored soybeans.

3. Seed Quality

Seed quality is of paramount importance in soybean production. Farmers often use their harvested soybeans as seed for future planting. High test weight seeds generally exhibit better germination rates and vigor, leading to improved stand establishment in the field. Opting for high test weight soybeans as seed ensures a strong start for the next growing season.

4. Yield Estimation

Test weight is sometimes used as a component in yield estimation calculations. By determining the average test weight of harvested soybeans, farmers can obtain a rough estimate of their crop's yield. This information aids in assessing the success of specific management practices and making informed decisions for future growing seasons.

5. Consumer Perception

Good test weight is often associated with high-quality soybeans, and consumer perception reinforces this belief. Whether it is for direct human consumption or for use in various processed products, consumers typically expect soybeans to exhibit good test weight. Meeting these expectations can lead to increased consumer satisfaction and the potential for repeat purchases, benefiting both farmers and the industry as a whole.

How to Achieve the Desired Test Weight

Achieving the desired test weight in soybeans requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses various cultural practices. Here are some strategies that can help farmers optimize test weight:

1. Selecting High-Quality Seed

Choosing soybean varieties with a track record of producing high test weights is a crucial first step. Consult with reputable seed dealers, review performance data, and consider the specific traits and characteristics that align with your farming goals. Selecting top-quality seed sets the foundation for attaining the desired test weight.

2. Providing Optimal Growing Conditions

Monitoring and tailoring growing conditions is essential to promoting seed development and maximizing test weight. Adequate moisture, proper fertility management, and timely pest and disease control should be prioritized. Employing irrigation systems, implementing precision farming techniques, and using crop protection measures can contribute to healthier soybean plants and better test weights.

3. Timely Planting

Planting soybeans at the right time is crucial. Early planting allows for longer growth durations, maximizing the potential for seed development. However, it is important to consider regional climatic conditions and adjust planting dates accordingly. Late planting may result in reduced test weight due to shorter growing seasons and potential stress from adverse weather later in the year.

4. Proper Nutrient Management

Implementing a tailored nutrient management plan is critical for achieving optimal test weights. Soil testing helps determine the nutrient composition of the field and enables farmers to apply the right amount of fertilizers and micronutrients. Nutrient deficiencies or imbalances can hinder seed development and reduce test weights. Regular soil testing and periodic plant tissue sampling can guide nutrient management decisions throughout the growing season.

5. Implementing Integrated Pest Management

Effective pest and disease management practices contribute to achieving desirable test weights. Regular scouting, identification of pests and diseases, and timely intervention can prevent yield losses and maintain seed quality. Integrated pest management strategies, such as using resistant varieties, cultural practices, and targeted pesticide applications, should be employed to ensure healthy soybean plants and optimal test weights.


Test weight is more than just a number; it serves as a vital quality benchmark for soybeans. Understanding the factors that influence test weight and its significance allows farmers to make informed decisions to achieve desirable results. By selecting the right soybean varieties, providing optimal growing conditions, and adopting appropriate management practices, farmers can aspire to attain the best test weights for their soybean crops. Ultimately, this leads to improved marketability, enhanced seed quality, and better profitability in soybean production. So, whether you are a farmer, a buyer, or simply interested in the world of soybeans, test weight is a crucial aspect that should not be overlooked.


Just tell us your requirements, we can do more than you can imagine.
Send your inquiry

Send your inquiry

Choose a different language
Current language:English