Soybean Technology Has Long Runway Ahead

December 20, 2017 01:49 PM

Soybean yields have taken off in the last several years. In some areas in Illinois have been yielding 100 bushel per acre soybeans in some areas.

Bob Reiter, research and development integration strategy at Monsanto, says this is another example of how this is the decade of the bean and how breeding programs is where it all starts.

“We’re breeding gene by gene to make that seed product really perform on a farm, and then you combine that with the challenges we all have in terms on [using] the right product on the right acre,” said Reiter.

He doesn’t believe soybeans have plateaued. Instead, he still thinks yields have a long way to go.

“I see an acceleration happening because of the tools we’re applying and the knowledge that we have today,” he said.

Soybeans are a primarily weather-driven crop. Ken Ferrie, Farm Journal agronomist, is seeing more soybeans that are responding to management as corn does. He said in Illinois, there are farmers that are planting soybeans earlier in the spring and not having to worry about the outcome.

Kip Tom, of Tom Farms in Indiana, calls himself an early integrator of different farm technologies. He’s been using remote monitor sensor control, biotechnology, and now he’s focusing on data science.

“Those technologies are going to start to change our business model, at the same time giving up more information to give to our end users to understand how we’re operating our farms and adding value to their products to the consumers,” said Tom.

Yield is always important for farmers, and with record crops, some farmers are concerned about the value of the crop, rather than the quality. Polly Ruhland, CEO of the United Soybean Board, says it’s important to think about yield short-term, but the value is a long-term picture.

“We have to look ahead and at present to make sure farms are sustainable for the next generation and technology helps us do that,” she said.

Watch the full discussion on U.S. Farm Report above.

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