Bumper Bean King
Charlie Hinkebein has been spending a lot of time spilling the beans since the 2008 harvest. The Chaffee, Mo., farmer hauled in 109.32 bu. per acre to take the top spot in the non-irrigated category of the Missouri Soybean Association's annual yield contest.
"We had Iowa weather [in Missouri]—lots of rain and cool temperatures most of the summer,” says Hinkebein, describing the 2008 growing season. "I've never seen soybeans set more blooms and pods.”
Hinkebein planted Asgrow AG4903 in 30" rows. Lowering plant populations is a key element in his high-yield strategy. "Planting at 130,000 to 140,000 seeds per acre allows me to achieve more precise seed placement and maximize sunlight,” he says. "I strive for the most efficient amount of seed per foot.”
He also looks for a variety with a good disease resistance package, including resistance to sudden death syndrome. Seed quality was a concern in 2008 and Hinkebein tries to buy soybean seed that tests at least 95% germ.
This triple-digit yield champ admits the contest acres are input-intensive. The winning plots received two foliar fungicide applications and a foliar insecticide treatment—a move that bumped yields by 17 bu. per acre across his competition acres. A root stimulant, 2 lb. of sugar and 2 gal. of 2-20-10, were also part of the recipe. Boron, zinc and manganese were added to a post-Roundup application. "This keeps the beans from shutting down and yellowing,” Hinkebein says.
When aiming for top yields, Hinkebein recommends scouting thoroughly and faithfully. Soil maintenance and a solid fertility program combined with a fungicide/insecticide program is what brings on the bushels, he says.
Hinkebein, who farms with his son-in-law, Carl Landewee, also claimed top honors in the no-till category with a yield of 92.3 bu. per acre using Pioneer 94M30.
Don't give up your refuge. By now you've probably heard that seed companies are seeking corn refuge reductions or trying to incorporate refuge requirements into the bag. Although some seed companies are expecting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rule on those proposals soon, current refuge protocols remain in place for the coming planting season.
- Early Spring 2009