Treat your soybeans like the crop they are
Detractors of soybeans call them a corn cover crop. An intermission crop. Or even a weed.
Treating soybeans this way becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Still, Cory Sinn, Trimont, Minnesota, found something interesting when reviewing his long-term records.
He made more profits from soybeans than from corn.
"On a five-year average, my net return was $23 per acre more for soybeans than for corn," says Sinn.
Granted, Sinn buffers soybeans between corn in a corn-corn-soybean rotation over his 320 acres. This creates a better soybean environment by helping to break pest cycles.
An agronomic program that stresses a good seedbed, adequate drainage, and soil fertility play a part. Sinn, his wife, Cara, and sons Ean, 11, and Evan, 8, have their own separate farmland. And Sinn has a machinery-sharing agreement with his father, Jim; his uncle, Dean; and cousins Ryan and Jeff, that significantly slices machinery costs.
Preseason meetings Sinn has with Larry Griffin, his Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association (SWMFBMA) instructor, also are key.
"He has rock-solid numbers that let me know where I stand," says Sinn.
Sinn, who grew up in the area, returned in 1997 to take a crop consultant position with United Ag-Tech in Trimont. In 2001, he bought a farm from a neighbor and rented more land in 2002.
His family's understanding that he'll be busy during certain times of the year has also enabled him to work as a crop consultant. Besides bringing in off-farm income, relationships he's formed have enabled him to better buy inputs for him and his family.
"It also lets me keep a good eye on input costs and production practices that work and don't work," he says. "Being in this business has helped me see that not every sales gimmick will make $10 or $15 or $20 per acre."