The 2020 Soybean Summit was held March 10 at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield, Illinois, and 260 soybean producers, advisers and industry professionals gathered for a day of learning and growth. John McGillicuddy, McGillicuddy and Corrigan Agronomics, set the tone for the day as the first keynote speaker.
McGillicuddy spoke about designing on farm research studies to test new agronomic practices and how the best agronomic decisions come from your personal research. He encouraged farmers to allocate their resources (whether its plant nutrition, money or time) to the most important part of any soybean crop: the soybeans. It’s important that the agronomic decisions made prioritize practices that will improve yield and not waste resources.
When margins are tight, McGillicuddy warns that producers and advisers need to be careful with their money. Some key mistakes he sees is when fertilizers are used that aren’t needed or when fertilizers aren’t applied that are needed. McGillicuddy asked producers to do more critical evaluation before investing to make sure the return on investment is there.
Following McGillicuddy was second keynote speaker, Sara Wyant from Agri-Pulse Communications. Wyant discussed five issues facing the agriculture industry in 2020 and how they will impact soybean profitability. Wyant outlined the five concerns as trade, freedom to operate, sustainability, ag entrepreneurs and workforce, and the dilution of the rural voice with fewer involved in the industry.
After Wyant, the group split into breakout sessions for the rest of the morning and early afternoon. Breakout topics included:
- What’s an Herbicide Program Without Residuals? – David Powell, GROWMARK, Inc.
- Understanding the Value of Soybean Treatment – Doug Tinnes, BASF
- Managing Soybeans to Make Cover Crop Systems Work – John Pike, Pike Ag, LLC
- What Advantages Can Technology Bring in a Down Year? – Dawn Odenthal, Conservis
- Soybean Storage: Critical Factors and Technology Advances for Storing Soybeans Profitably – Roger Price, GSI and Paul Card, GrainViz
- Hindsight is 20/20, But What About the Year 2020? – Panel with Brooke Starks, Meyer Capel, Frank Dhom, Peoples State Bank, and Kent Leesman, Illinois Farm Business Farm Management
- Maximizing Profit in Challenging Markets – Matt Bennet, Windsor, Illinois, farmer
- Managing the Cost of Your #1 Expense: Land Costs Associated with Soybean Production – Dale Lattz, University of Illinois
Attendees also learned from a farmer Q&A session with producers Ron Moore and Garry Niemeyer as well as consultants Brendan Marshall and Todd Steinacher.