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Field fixers

Agriculture.com Staff 02/07/2016 @ 5:54pm

Variety selection and pest management are key to boosting soybean yields. But there's also nothing like a timely rainfall to create bin-busting yields.

That held true for a 41-acre field that John Fredrickson, Gowrie, Iowa, enrolled in the High Yield Team this year. The field was part of a project in which a farmer and his field were paired with a member of the High Yield Team expert panel. Fredrickson partnered with Palle Pedersen, an Iowa State University

Extension agronomist. Steve Houzenga, Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, and his program 42-acre field paired up with Mark Bernard, a New Richland, Minnesota, crop consultant. The two members of the High Yield Team expert panel visited the fields and gave ideas for improving fields and boosting yields The High Yield Team is a program in which Successful Farming magazine has partnered with the AgriEdge Soybean Program from Syngenta to boost soybean yields.

Fredrickson's soybeans struggled with sparse rainfall into August. That's why a 2-inch rain followed by another .6-inch rain the second week of August were so welcome. At press time, Fredrickson was on target to meet his field yield goal of 60 bushels per acre.

"Being dry earlier in the summer probably strained the beans, but things really picked up in August and the first part of September," he says. One lesson reaffirmed this year for Fredrickson is the value of top-notch weed control under drought. Soybeans are slow to canopy during drought, and this gives weeds an opportunity to gain a foothold.

Fortunately, Fredrickson was ready. He applied a full rate of Tri-4 (containing the active ingredient trifluralin) preplant that he followed up with a full postemergence rate of Roundup WeatherMax the week prior to Independence Day. The Tri-4 application gave excellent residual control prior to the final postemergence application.

"Once in a while, we'd find some waterhemp in there (before the Roundup application), but that was it," says Fredrickson. "There are cheaper programs out there, but this one worked for us."

Variety selection and pest management are key to boosting soybean yields. But there's also nothing like a timely rainfall to create bin-busting yields.

Houzenga faced early wet and cold soils, boiling July heat, and soybean aphids in his program field. However, preharvest estimates indicate he'll meet his preseason yield goal of 55 bushels per acre with 60- to 65-bushel-per-acre yields.

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