Hello, my name is Randy Stephens and I am an agronomist, CCA and work with Helena Chemical in Martinsville, Illinois.
Practicing modern agronomy is the solution to higher-yield soybeans. My excitement in agronomy lies in the adoption of conservation practices and the addition of modern techniques of fertilization to raise soybean yields. Tillage and fertilizer practices need to be rethought in a lot of instances to break through personal yield barriers. If you can grow soybeans with less input cost from planting, that is as good as a yield increase. Traditional planting dates, as well as other cultural practices, need to be constantly evaluated and questioned to see if they can be changed to achieve the yield increases growers are looking for. Soybeans need to be as important in the grower’s eye as their corn crop. In today’s market, soybean are the more profitable.
We want our growers to know how to produce high-yield soybeans. I hope to accomplish these yield increases by encouraging adoption and showing results of non-traditional programs in my district. For example, the use of supplemental nitrogen or fungicides and various other yield-enhancing products will become normal practices, instead of being classified as extras or being good products only when bean prices are at higher levels.
Growers who are engaging in ongoing on-farm research will be the leaders in discovering what is going to work best for them and their situations, which can change yearly. This is where I want to be involved as our company can assist them in their research and validate results with our encompassing Agri-Intelligence program. My personal motto is I strive to learn one new thing a day, small or large. An open mind is the first step to increasing yields.
Randy Stephens is a salesman for Helena Chemical in Martinsville, IL, and has been working at the same location for over 30 years. He has been a CCA since 1995 and is looking forward to sharing his knowledge of soybeans as a Soy CCA Envoy.