No-tillers hit new yield records across the board
No-tilled soybean yields climbed to new highs in 2016, while most U.S. regions saw better yields than in 2015.
This study is cited with permission of No-Till Farmer. See the full corn and soybean study here.
Last season no-tillers had some of the best crop performances in the history of No-Till Farmer magazine’s annual No-Till Operational Benchmark Study, hitting record soybean yield averages overall and beating 2015 yields in most regions.
Readers who participated in55 the ninth annual survey reported that no-tilled soybeans averaged 58 bushels per acre last year, 5 bushels higher than the record set in 2015.
Soybeans were a success
In addition to hitting a new yield record for no-till soybeans, soybean yields increased under all tillage systems and in all seven U.S. regions. Highest average yields in no-tilled soybeans were in the Western Corn Belt (WCB) with 62 bushels per acre, 7 bushels higher than in 2015. The Eastern Corn Belt (ECB) followed at 59 bushels per acre, a 4-bushel increase over 2015.
See Table 1 for 2016 yields per region broken down by tillage system and Table 2 for a nine-year history of soybean yields nationwide by tillage system.
|Table 1. 2016 Average Per-Bushel Yields for Soybeans
(Based Upon Tillage System Used)
Table 2. Comparison of Soybean Yields by Tillage System
(2008 – 2016)
Here are other key soybean findings from the 2016 no-till study:
- Strip-tilled soybeans performed the best in 2016, yielding 62 bushels per acre on average — 9 bushels higher than the 53-bushel yield seen in 2015 and 2014.
- Vertical-tilled soybeans saw a 4-bushel bump from 2015 for a 59-bushel average, while minimum-tilled soybeans picked up three bushels for a 57-bushel average.
- The average yield for the top one-third of soybean growers fell a bit from 2015’s 70.6 bushels per acre to 67.1 in 2016. But this still gave them a 9-bushel advantage over the total survey average of 58 bushels per acre.
- The average farm size of the top third soybean yielders is 1,082 acres, 71 acres smaller than the average farm size for the whole benchmark study.
- Growers with the highest soybean yields in 2016 also recorded higher corn yields, averaging 196.6 bushels per acre
- Roundup Ready® soybeans are the most popular variety among all no-tillers
- The top-third in terms of yield used more inputs to protect their soybean crops compared with the average soybean grower. The higher-yielding growers were more likely to use fungicides, insecticides, nematicides, biological controls and seed treatments. However, they were less likely to apply an inoculant to their soybean seed in 2016
- Looking toward the 2017 crop, higher-yielding growers report being less likely to apply fertilizer to their soybeans this year, compared with other growers