Agronomy: 75 Bushel beans in Southern Illinois – It Can be Your Reality?

As I have attended many agronomy meetings this winter, one of the hot topics is how to increase soybean yields. 2014 gave us a hint across many parts of the light soil areas as to what is actually possible in soybean yields. The trick now is to figure out what gave us the opportunity for those high yields and try and do it on a consistent basis. There is no doubt Mother Nature played a key role in the final yields, but there are some things we can do to help as well.

One of the key components of many high-yield soybean programs is an earlier planting date. The idea here is to have the soybean plant flowering during the maximum light period, June 21st. One of the first oppositions to this by many growers is the concern of Sudden Death Syndrome. The good news here is that there are some new seed treatment products coming to the market that may offer some protection against SDS, helping alleviate this major concern. A good IST/FST seed treatment will also help in establishing a vigorous, even stand.

Fertility also has to come to the forefront as a key ingredient to yield. Many growers are still fertilizing for 45-bushel beans and hoping for 75-bushel beans. A 75 bushel bean crop requires a “lot” of fertilizer. Are you feeding your beans enough to even give them a chance at hitting 75 bushels an acre?

Are your fields weed free? I am not going to go through all of the options for weed control, but it is very simple: weeds = reduced yield. It is absolutely imperative that weeds never compete against the crop, in any concentration.

Look at late season fungicide/insecticide applications as a way to protect the yield that the plant has made. If your crop has made it to growth stage R3 and the plants have responded well to your management and have the potential to support a large pod load, protect them.

Soybean yield is built in a simple manner: Set a large pod load, fill that large pod load and harvest the pod load timely. All of the management strategies involved are an attempt to reduce stress on the plant, thus allowing the plant to set more pods. Think of this: If you can increase pod count per plant by one three-bean pod per node on a 17 node plant (17 total pods/plant) with 125,000 plants per acre this would be about a 35 bu/acre yield increase.

There is no “magic” answer, only what works for you under your management strategies. Planting is just around the corner, so try a few different things this year, and with a little help from Mother Nature, 75 bushel beans may be in your future.

Scott Eversgerd is a field agronomist with DuPont Pioneer in Southern Illinois. He spent five years working in ag retail in Kentucky and five years working with Syngenta Crop Protection in Indiana and North Carolina. Eversgerd has been with DuPont Pioneer for 11 years and also operates a grain farm in Clinton County, Ill.

Scott Eversgerd
Eversgerd is a Certified Crop Advisor and has been a Field Agronomist for Pioneer in Southern Illinois for 18 years. He works with local growers to maximize their farming operations in seed selection and all other aspects of agronomy. Eversgerd spent five years in Kentucky as a Crop Consultant on High Management Wheat and Precision Technology and spent five years with Novartis/Syngenta Crop Protection in Indiana and North Carolina. He holds a bachelor’s in plant and soil science from Southern Illinois University and resides in Nashville, Ill. with his wife, Stacie, and two children, daughter Katlyn (18) and son Logan (18). Eversgerd operates his family farm in Clinton county with his two brothers raising corn, soybeans and wheat.



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