Missouri 'soybean king' success researched
Other research found unusual characteristics in Cullers’ field as well, including ”high growth and nitrogen accumulation rates, and abnormally slow seed fill rates over a longer seed fill period,” Van Roekel said.
There is one “tough love” tactic Cullers used in the past that has been widely discussed: use of a Cobra herbicide to injure the soybean crop early in the season.
“Some farmers would comment on how it seemed like injured soybeans would yield a little better rather than worse like you would think,” Van Roekel said. “We felt it was something we needed to at least look into.”
“While it is possible that stressing the plants early can allow them to come back stronger, it is likely that the potential yield benefit will be small,” Van Roekel said.
Previous research results on this practice have been unpredictable, with inconsistent yield increases, he said.
“While our first-year data did show a potential yield increase, we do not recommend burning the soybean crop as part of a producer’s standard management practices,” Van Roekel said.
Lanny Ashlock, former extension soybean specialist and now assistant vice president-special programs for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and coordinator for the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, is a fan of Van Roekel’s work.
“Striving to increase soybean grain yield has long been the goal of many Arkansas farmers, and the recent successes of Mr. Kip Cullers in southwest Missouri has certainly renewed excitement for this endeavor in the state,” Ashlock said.
“The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board is funding a multiple-objective Soybean Maximum Yield Project within the state, and we appreciate the cooperation from Mr. Cullers and the efforts of Mr. Van Roekel, and that of his major professor, Dr. Larry Purcell, as they attempt to determine those management practices or combinations of management factors that account for the outstanding soybean yields that Mr. Cullers attains.”
For more information about crop production, visit www.uaex.edu or see Van Roekel’s article in its entirety at www.arkansas-crops.com/2012/02/10/student-researches-recipe-for-record-setting-soybean-yields/.