Maximum soybean yields begin with best management practices
When reviewing average soybean yields across the state, South Dakota State University researchers made a startling discovery - certified research plots were yielding 20-bushels per acre more than neighboring fields.
"A true indicator of an information gap if ever we saw one," said Gregg Carlson, professor of Plant Science at SDSU. "If top producers and agronomists are growing soybeans that yield 20-bushels more per acre than their neighbors' fields, then we needed to do something to bridge that gap."
What Carlson and 57 other SDSU faculty, researchers and SDSU Extension staff did to bridge the information gap was team up with South Dakota soybean growers to compile a comprehensive manual filled with research-based best management practices for growing soybeans in South Dakota.
"This is the most complete set of best management practices ever published by a university anywhere. The science-based recommendations are based on research conducted in South Dakota and surrounding states," said David Wright, Professor and Department Head of Plant Science at SDSU.
The iGrow Soybean Best Management Practices manual and iBook are free to South Dakota soybean producers, and contain the latest research-based information and recommendations on everything from row spacing, seed treatments and fertility, to pest and weed management.
"The great thing about this manual is there is a topic for every farmer; no matter what they are good at or struggle with," said Matt Bainbridge, an Ethan soybean, corn and cattle producer.
Also a South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council board member, Bainbridge, 33, was one of several South Dakota soybean farmers consulted on what topics should be covered in the manual.
"This was truly a collaborative effort with soybean growers and their checkoff. They developed the table of contents and provided input," said David Clay, Professor of Soil Science at SDSU and one of the manual's six editors. "Farmers know what their problems are and have a good idea of what needs to be in the manual to address those questions."
Funded in part by checkoff dollars through the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Clay added that Bainbridge and other soybean growers continue to remain involved through regular communication with SDSU faculty and staff. As new, research-based information is discovered, that will be communicated with soybean growers. The manual, and continued investment in creating new knowledge, reinforce the value-added focus of the project explained Adam Herges, Market Development and Research Director for the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.