Soybean Yield Contest winners top 92 bushel/acre
Two winners in the 2010 Pa. Soybean Yield Contest both topped a whopping 92-bushels per acre, more than double the 2010 Pennsylvania average soybean yield of 43 bushels per acre reported by the USDA.
A. Dale Herr, of Kirkwood, Lancaster County was the top producer in the annual competition sponsored by the Pennsylvania Soybean Promotion Board, with a yield of 92.78 bushels per acre. Not far behind was fellow Lancaster County soybean grower Charles Farms, Inc. with a 92.36 bushel per acre yield. Third place winner was Robert Shearer of Mt. Joy with 87.18 bushels per acre.
Prior to this year, Charles Farms was the only contestant in the 19-year history of the contest ever to beat the 90 bushels per acre mark, winning the Yield Contest in 2007 with 90.11 bushels per acre.
We asked the two top contest winners to share their crop management strategies for producing 90+ bushel beans.
A. Dale Herr's record-breaking yield was Pioneer 93M11 planted in 7.5" rows. The crop followed corn, was drilled no-till at a population of 176,600 and was harvested on Sept. 21 a final stand of 163,786 with 10.04% moisture.
"We've been in the top five a number of times," says Herr. "We did some experimenting and backed off on population. The advantage to that is the beans don't get so tall. They don't fall down on the ground and you put more pods on the bottom. That's my thinking. If you plant real thick, the beans have to stretch up to get the sunlight, and then they get so tall they end up on the ground. For most of the beans I planted for the contest, we dropped back to about 175,000 population, and they did real well for us.
"And then the last couple of years, we've been doing some foliar feeding," he continues."Last year we did it one time and got the best yield I ever had, so this year, we went to double foliar feeding for the contest, and I had the best average I ever had this year in my whole crop."
Charles Farms, another frequent winner in the Yield Contest, also planted Pioneer 93M11 in 7.5" rows in rye stubble. His crop was drilled no-till at a substantially higher population of 225,000, and the final stand, populated at 209,088, was harvested Sept. 20 at 12.67% moisture.
"We try to plant early, pretty much the end of April is when we get our highest yields," says Charles."The last few years we've planted the same variety, which has been pretty hard to beat. Some of the shorter season beans did really well, and then we had a longer season bean planted just a week later, and the yields dropped by 4 bushels. This year, early was the best because of the very dry summer we had: the later beans ran out of moisture."
In contrast to Herr's approach, Charles Farm plants a higher population. "We plant early and we never know what kind of weather we're going to get, so we err on the high side," Charles explains. "We drill, and it's almost like a controlled spill. With a corn planter, you could put the seed in more accurately. I think we could get away with a little less, but we plant early when it's cold, so we plant on the high side."
Charles added that proper potash levels are also vital. "It's important for tomatoes, corn and whatever we do, but especially for soybeans. They like potash," he says.
Yearly yield average increases
According to Delbert Voight, Penn State Senior Extension Agent who oversees the program, average yield of the 30 participating growers in 2010 was 70.44 bushels per acre. "Each year, the base soybean yields have been climbing at a rate of about a bushel per acre," says Voight.
As the winner of the contest, Herr receive an all-expense paid trip for two to the 2011 Commodity Classic, the annual joint convention of the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, and the National Grain Sorghum Producers. Commodity Classic features a trade show, valuable educational sessions, technology demonstrations, association banquets, and networking opportunities. Second-place winner Charles Farms received a $500 cash prize, and third-place winner Shearer received a $250 cash prize.
Yield Contest Crop Management Statistics
Crop management statistics gleaned from the 2010 contestants' reports:
· 30 growers participated
· Average yield = 70.44 bu./acre
· 63% of growers used no-till
· 70% planted by May 20 or earlier
· 43% favored 11 to 20 inch rows, with the remainder evenly distributed between 30" rows and 10" or under rows
· 70% used treated seed
· 53% followed with a small grain cover crop
· Average seed drop = 176,118
· Average population at harvest =150,338
· Most growers had the crop in the bin by Oct. 20
A summary of the production information for all 30 entries can be found on the Pennsylvania Soybean Board website at www.pasoybean.org.
2010 Soybean Yield Contest Top Ten
A. Dale Herr
Charles Farms, Inc.
James E. Hershey
Northrup King NK S28‐B4
Richard C. Krieder
Pioneer P 93Y13
How to enter the 2011 Soybean Yield Contest
The yield contest, launched by the Pennsylvania Soybean Promotion Board in 1992, is attracting more growers every year. Any bona fide farmer who farms in Pennsylvania and grows five acres or more of soybeans within Pennsylvania's boundaries is eligible.
To download an application for the 2011 contest, go do www.pasoybean.org or send a request for an application to:
Pa. Soybean Yield Contest, Attn: Del Voight
2120 Cornwall Rd., Suite 1
Lebanon, PA 17402