Arkansas soybean yields are higher than the national average, but University of Arkansas doctoral student Ryan Van Roekel has research that shows farmers can do even better. Last year, Van Roekel achieved 115-bushel-per-acre yields in a test plot.
The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board (ASPB) funded Van Roekel’s project to help farmers in that state achieve maximum yields.
“When we fund projects like Ryan’s, we’re investing in research that will put money back into the pockets of Arkansas farmers,” says Shannon Davis, chairman of ASPB, the soy checkoff board in Arkansas. “Our research investments are critical to the success of farmers and we’re committed to that investment every year.”
Van Roekel cautions against expecting 115-bushel yields, but he believes many farmers can use these five tips to boost their yields.
1. Plant Early – In Van Roekel’s test plots, soybeans planted in the first half of April had a better chance of success because podset will more likely correspond with the longest days of summer. Bonus: this method costs nothing extra.
2. Choose the Right Soybean Varieties – Several criteria will lead farmers to water regarding variety selection. Be certain to consider each variety’s traits with regard to the growing environment of your beans.
3. Control Pests against Current Value of the Grain – There is a balance between yield loss and the costs of pest control. Farmers who seek maximum yield should take into account the current value of soybeans to find the real balance.
4. Intense Irrigation Schedule – Van Roekel applied 26 inches of water, higher than average, with overhead sprinkler irrigation to one of his test plots.
5. Match Potassium Levels with Your Yield Goals – If your yield goals are higher than 50 bushels per acre, increase your potassium applications. Soybeans need potassium!