Funded by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program.

November 2016

Maybe you can grow 100 bushel soybeans?

We all know now that 100-bushel soybeans are in the realm of possibility. Kip Culler did it first and repeated it three times, topping off at 160 bushels. Dan Arkels and the Lakey family have done it in Illinois. Matt Miles has repeated it five times over five consecutive years in Arkansas. And Randy Dowdy broke 100 bushels in 2014 and 2015 and hit 171.8 bu in 2016. There have been other growers who have broken through this ceiling unofficially, so it is possible. The key to producing 100-bushel soybeans is to have the right luck with the weather [...]

By |November 29, 2016|

Plant and Soil Health: Soil Testing: Ca to Mg ratios

When your soils are tested does your agronomist or soil lab promote the virtues of tracking the Ca to Mg ratio? Soil testing is important because it is the only way to track whether your soil is chemically fit to support soybean production. The test shows if you need to apply phosphorus, potassium or lime and the levels of other nutrients. When a soil test is run, they analyze for many nutrients at one time including calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). Both of these nutrients, along with sulfur (S) are considered secondary macronturients. Of course, extractable Ca levels are [...]

By |November 28, 2016|

What Happened to the Double Crop Soybeans This Year?

2016 was a good year for double cropped soybeans. For those that had double crop soybeans this year the question is “What happened?” In many of the reports I have received, the answer is very high-yielding beans. In some cases, the double crops have out-yielded the full season beans. It is not uncommon to hear reports of double crop bean yields of 50 to 70 bushels per acre—double what we normally expect. So, what exactly happened this year that created those big yields? First off, we had a relatively early wheat harvest. And that wheat harvest occurred during the [...]

By |November 22, 2016|

Weed Management: Dicamba and Soybean: What to Expect in 2017

The long-awaited label allowing dicamba use in dicamba-resistant soybean was granted November 9, 2016, by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), although only one commercial product received that label. Many Illinois farmers anticipate this technology will provide a much-needed solution to challenges caused by weed populations resistant to herbicides from multiple site-of-action groups and other difficult-to-control species. Without question, there are instances and scenarios in which dicamba will improve control of certain weed species, but dicamba will not bring back the “good ol’ days” of POST-only weed control programs in soybean. Current expectations of what this technology can [...]

By |November 21, 2016|

Include a Legume in Your Cover Crop Selection

Oftentimes growers limit themselves to planting only cereal rye after harvesting soybeans or corn. Rye is always a good selection because it will germinate and overwinter, you can plant it any time through the fall, and it will grow next spring. But it is time to think bigger and broader to expand your cover crop benefits. Winter peas are a great cover crop option, but they come with some challenges. Over the last couple of years, I have heard of issues regarding the establishment of winter peas. They can be difficult to grow in some soil types and field [...]

By |November 16, 2016|

Soybean Research Leads to Better Production Practices

As the 2016 crop season ends, now is the time to look back and note what worked and what didn’t. I have spoken with farmers throughout southern Illinois who achieved some of the best whole farm soybean yield averages they’ve ever seen. But even though there were record yields, I’ve received calls from farmers who know there is still room for improvement. Whether it’s because the new soybean yield record was set at 171 bu/acre this year, or that soybean yields have just been good, as an agronomist it’s exciting to see farmers already looking forward to taking soybean [...]

By |November 14, 2016|

Agronomy: How to Grow Soybeans

Soybeans are a major crop in countries including the U.S., Brazil, Argentina, India and China. It is also grown in some Canadian provinces and in smaller acreages in Asia and South Africa. And now Soybeans are being introduced as a crop in other parts of Africa. While farmers harvest bean seeds, soybeans are grown for their oil and protein—those are the two end products. The oil is edible and has many industrial uses. The crude protein can be eaten by livestock and extracts of the protein can be consumed by humans. And in parts of the world, people need [...]

By |November 11, 2016|

Agronomy: Soybean Yields Are Improving in Illinois

I recently read an article by Gary Schnitkey on farmdoc in regard to the relative decline of soybean yields in Illinois compared to corn yields. Many agronomists around the state, me included, have been bemoaning these stagnant yields for the last decade. Gary makes a great point about how growers have neglected innovation in soybean production while concentrating on improving corn yields. Up until the last 4 years I would have agreed with him whole-heartedly. However, the yields since 2011, except for the drought in 2012, have steadily and significantly improved throughout the state. Here in Southern Illinois we [...]

By |November 9, 2016|

Agronomy: 2016: Another Year of Learning

In Northern Illinois we have had another interesting year with soybeans. We have had some great soybeans, some good soybeans and some fields that were just beans. Over the next few months we will try to dig in and see what made our great soybeans great and what caused some of our fields to just be beans. There are, however, a few things on the surface that we have already learned. We had pockets of an issue that we have not paid enough attention to in the past that caught us a little by surprise. Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) [...]

By |November 7, 2016|

Weed Management: Fall-Applied Herbicides: Which Weed Species to Target?

URBANA, Ill. – Herbicides applied in the fall often can provide improved control of many winter annual weed species compared with similar applications made in the spring. Marestail is a prime example. More and more Illinois marestail populations are resistant to herbicides, including glyphosate and ALS-inhibiting products. University of Illinois weed scientist Aaron Hager recommends targeting emerged marestail with higher application rates of products such as 2,4-D in the fall to achieve better control come spring. Hager is frequently asked whether a fall application needs to include one or more herbicides that provide residual control of winter annual weed [...]

By |November 4, 2016|
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