• Test for compaction. Many hay and pasture fields have some surface compaction. The next time the fields are saturated with water, walk them with a penetrometer to test for compaction.  (Most county extension offices have a penetrometer.) If that compaction is 3 to 4 inches deep, then you may need to do some surface tillage to break up the compaction. A field cultivator or chisel plow is the preferred tillage tool, if tillage is necessary. If the compaction is an inch or less, most no-till planters with sufficient weight can break through that compaction.

• Plant a slightly higher seeding rate. Planting into sod, means planting into grubs, wireworms, voles, field mice and other critters. Expect a little more seedling loss. A final stand of 100,000 plants per acre is sufficient for maximum soybean yields in most scenarios. However, a final stand 70 percent of the original seeding rate is a reasonable expectation for sod. An initial seeding rate of 150,000 seeds per acre, or more is a good starting point.

• Place seeds about 1.5 inches deep. Get the seeding depth correct. You will pay for it greatly if you do not. If you are using a no-till drill, take some time to make sure seeding depth is correct. Planters generally do a better job of seed placement than drills, but both must be set properly.

• Soybeans in row widths of 15 inches or less usually yield a little better than soybeans in 30-inch rows. However, soybeans in 30-inch rows can produce acceptable yields. If the planter will do a better job of cutting through residue and placing the seed, then use the planter. 

• Select a good soybean variety. Based on the University of Kentucky trials, there is a huge swing in yield potential from commercial varieties. Selecting a variety with a good track record in the state improves your odds of having a good variety and getting good yields. Never ask the seed salesman to “Give me whatever you have.” Do your homework.