Triple-Digit Soybeans

March 12, 2009 07:00 PM

Pam Smith, Farm Journal Crops & Issues Editor
Charlie Hinkebein wasn't sure he'd ever get his crop planted last spring, but he can't complain about the result. The Chaffee, Mo., hauled in 109.32 bushel per acre to take the top spot in the non-irrigated category of the 2008 Missouri Soybean Association's annual yield contest.
"We had Iowa weather—lots of rain and cool temperatures most of the summer,” says Hinkebein. "I've never seen soybeans set more blooms and pods.”
Hinkebein planted Asgrow AG4903 in 30-inch rows. Lowering plant populations is just one key 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 in 2008 was a concern and Hinkebein tries to buy soybean seed that tests at least 95% germ. Cruiser Max seed treatment provides added emergence insurance.
This 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 bushel per acre across his competition acres. A root stimulant, 2 lb. of sugar and 2 gallon of 2-20-10 were also part of the recipe. Boron, zinc and maganese were added to a post Roundup application. "This keeps the beans from shutting down and yellowing,” says Hinkebein.
If you're aiming for top yields Hinkebein suggests that you scout thoroughly and faithfully. "Over the past few years I've been scouting more than ever before. You have to get out and walk in the field too. Don't rely on a windshield survey,” he says.
Hinkebein adds that soil maintenance matched to a solid fertility program combined with a fungicide/insecticide program is what brings on the bushels. "You only get back what you put into your crop,” he says. "I think a good fungicide and insecticide are invaluable.”
Hinkebein, who farms with his son-in-law, Carl Landewee, has been farming for nearly 40 years and participating in the contest for three years. "I'm always experimenting and that's how I learn what works and doesn't work,” he says. He puts in about 150 acres of corn and soybean plots each year. "It costs a little and takes some time, but I'm always learning something new,” he says. Hinkebein also claimed top honors in the no-till category with a yield of 92.3 bushels per acre using Pioneer 94M30.
An irrigated yield took the overall top yield record in the contest. Kip Cullers, Purdy, Mo., hauled in 117.1 bushels per acre using Pioneer 94B73. It marks Cullers third consecutive year producing high yields. He set the world record for soybean yields in 2007 with 154.7 bushels per acre. In 2008, his noncontest fields averaged nearly 100 bushels per acre.
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This article appeared in a recent issue of Farm Journal's Crop Technology Update eNewsletter. To sign up for a free subscription, click here.

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