Many high-yielding growers across the Midwest have mastered the art of corn production. They’ve uncovered the secrets to maximizing yield in corn to produce a profit, and now they are looking to soybeans as their next opportunity.
A.J. Woodyard, an Illinois-based Technical Service Representative for BASF, said he believes growers are putting more effort into soybean production than ever before.
“Growers have corn production down to a science – they know what it takes to produce a high-yielding, profitable crop,” Woodyard said. “They’re ready for their next challenge and are looking for ways to push yields in soybeans, a crop that generally isn’t as profitable as corn.”
Across the Midwest, growers are excited about the challenge ahead. There’s a rising interest in intensively managed soybeans and the quest to uncover the production secrets that will put more money in a grower’s pocket.
Though soybean profit potential may not be as high as corn this season, there’s still plenty of room to make a profit with soybeans.
Rotation Is Key
Because of high commodity prices, many growers are moving a portion of their acreage to corn-on-corn in the hopes of meeting record profit potential. But the switch is a double-edged sword, as research shows corn-on-corn acres often yield less than corn planted on a rotational field.
According to research conducted by Iowa State University, growers can expect to see a yield drop of 5-15% for second-year corn compared to first-year corn. Thanks to dry, hot weather and limited water during the latter part of the past two seasons, growers have experienced an even larger yield drag with corn-on-corn, leading to an increasing interest in producing high-yielding soybeans to keep profits high year-after-year.
“Growers are interested in ways to grow high-yielding soybeans so they can maintain consistent profits in a corn-on-soybean rotation,” Woodyard said. “Our goal is to help them find a profitable way to do it.”
Disease Control And Plant Health
A well-timed fungicide application effectively protects soybeans from the damaging diseases that threaten yield potential and also provide plant health benefits. In turn, the crop can produce higher yields and more profit.
BASF research shows an increase in soybean yields of 4-6 bu/A with an application of Headline fungicide at R3, or early podset. This equates to an ROI of nearly 3:1.
Synergies With An Insecticide
Additional benefits have been witnessed across the Midwest when growers pair their fungicide application with an insecticide application. There’s a combined positive effect when applying Headline with an insecticide, Woodyard said.
“Soybean growers recognize that pairing their Headline application with an insecticide makes sense,” he said. “We see an advantage when both products are used – some years the fungicide provides the primary benefit, and other years it’s the insecticide. Either way, we see improved consistency with the combination of Headline and an insecticide at R3.”
Prepare For 2013
Because of the increase in corn acres this year, some market experts forecast a shift in commodity prices, causing an increase in soybean prices during the next year. With an increase in profit potential in soybeans, some growers may readjust their approach and grow more beans in 2013.
“Now’s the time for soybean growers to try new things on their fields and challenge themselves to uncover what it takes to grow higher-yielding soybeans,” Woodyard said. “We encourage growers to take advantage of the 2012 season and learn from their successes and mistakes to push yields in the coming years.”