And, what a phenomenal finish for the checkered flag!
The adage—whatever does not kill you can make you stronger—may have played out in true fashion in many ways this growing season. While every year is made different by the temperature and moisture extremes endured, the 2018 season end results seem to be well received by growers via comments and my personal observation throughout the state. Frankly, many folks predicted there was going to be a big bean crop in 2018 and they really hit the nail on the head.
Recently, the USDA pegged Illinois at a record 64 bushels an acre, five above the previous record set in 2016 and six higher than last year. Statements from multiple growers confirm their average bean yields are likely the best they have ever seen! In fact, I had one central Illinois grower convey his best average soybean yield was topped by 4.5 bushels per acre across all 2,700 acres of beans he planted this year. So, it seems to be rather exceptional that even in a year when terms like #Soypocalypse were coined and areas received either too much or too little rain… these yields are demonstrating several takeaways.
  1. Soybean genetics are extremely capable regardless of herbicide platform.
  2. Early planting and use of seed treatments are crucial to taking advantage of the tremendous yield potential in our soybean genetics today.
  3. Appropriate plant populations allow plants to “stretch” as Mother Nature intended, allowing greater internode numbers and pod set.
  4. Timely and effective residual herbicide applications coupled with post products that target and complement the herbicide platform present in the genetics planted can and do reduce harmful weed pressures.
  5. The use of appropriately timed fungicidal and insecticidal applications, if warranted, can increase yield and ROI.
  6. And, if Mother Nature cooperates, combining beans at a favorable moisture content can add bushels in the tank.

In closing 2018’s tremendous soybean crop remember that with a plan well executed, even while enduring detrimental factors that are unavoidable (think less than favorable weather and pathogens), growers can rest assured that the potential is there.

Set your plan and work that plan as you prepare for the coming 2019 season because we will be off to the races again!

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About the Author: Rod Moran

Providing agronomic support and education to sales staff across all crops and geographies in the Dairyland Seed® footprint, Moran also has specific duties for managing Dairyland’s soybean portfolio. Joining Dairyland in June of 2004, he served as a district sales manager in Central and Southern Illinois and in 2010, transitioned into his current role as agronomy product specialist. He holds undergraduate degrees in Earth Science and Agronomy, as well as an M.S. in Crop Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.