Wednesday, August 7, 2013

36 Bushels?

US soybean yields have been hanging around the 36 bushel area.  I woke up this morning thinking dad and I raised our first soybeans at Sardinia with a worn out John Deere Van Brunt drill and made over 50 bushels on highly eroded worn out ground.  We didn't understand how to fertilize like I do today.  Why can't we raise better soybeans today?

Many ag talkers have been asking about raising better soybeans.  Some have emailed me.  I have offered to show my crop to any lookers.  I have a few coming to look.  I hope I don't disappoint them and I don't think I will.

Some of the best beans in the county are across the road from my farm.  Neighbor Ed has done a great job and got his planted before I did.  If I remember right, he hit that first of May planting area when I was not ready to plant yet.  I was spraying burn down then and I included 2,4-D

Inoculant is one thing but good soybeans won't be "fixed" by inoculant alone.  It takes a total program of fertilizer to feed a crop.  We used to let the beans scavenge a heavy corn fertilizer program but that doesn't seem to work well enough anymore.  Many good soybean producers are feeding nitrogen to their soybeans today.  I am one of them.  The soil must have enough calcium and nitrate to nodulate properly.  Maybe that is why the fellow in the link has yellow leafed soybeans.

Tissue testing has given me a lot of clues as to what to do.  90% of all tissue tests come up short in at least one nutrient.  Sometimes it is there and the plant can't get it.  How do we release the nutrients that are in the soil and should be available to the plant?  NoTill and cover crops increase soil health for me that it makes it easier.  Fungicide on crops has not been the answer for me.  Soil health and quality better address those issues.  Foliar feeding is a band aid unless you have a solid program of the 17 known and needed nutrients.  Remember C, H, O is the first three and we don't apply them as fertilizer.

Soybean methods in the Midwest are not up to par if we can only raise a 36 bushel national crop.  I don't care how bad the soil is or how little it rains in some areas.  We can do a lot better than 36 bushels.

Ed Winkle


  1. How about adding crop rotation. Up here, we are seeing with peas that our best yields always come on virgin pea ground -even if we stay out of peas for 4 years. So we are trying to push rotations to longer than that. Perhaps that is also the case with soybeans.