In response to strong soybean commodity prices, growers should make every effort to maximize soybean yields, Kip Cullers of Purdy, Mo., told fellow producers. Cullers revealed tips that every grower can follow to secure optimal soybean yields during last week's American Soybean Association (ASA)-BASF breakfast at Commodity Classic.

The breakfast was attended by growers enrolled in the 2008 Secure Optimal Yield (SOY) program, a joint program of the ASA and BASF. The SOY program provides a select group of soybean growers with an opportunity to demonstrate enhanced weed and disease management techniques on their farms and is designed to help soybean growers maximize yields and net profits. In 2007, more than 100 growers reported an average yield advantage of 6.8 bu/A versus control acres by following the SOY program of either Prowl H20 or Extreme residual herbicide and Headline fungicide applications.

Adam Burnhams, marketing manager for the U.S. Crop Protection division of BASF, congratulated the SOY growers on their commitment to take soybean yields higher by participating in the SOY program. "The U.S. soybean market is driven by technology and industry leaders like you, who are quick to adopt technology and meet a changing market," said Burnhams. "It's entrepreneurial people who make it happen. Looking around the room, it's clear that's you-the leaders in the industry."

Burnhams noted that the registration deadline for 2008 SOY enrollment is extended to March 14, 2008, and encouraged interested soybean growers to take advantage and enroll within the next two weeks.

Cullers: Everyday management key to high yields
Although Cullers is perhaps best known for setting back-to-back world record soybean yields in 2006 and 2007, his message for SOY participants was to pay attention to managing diseases, insects and weeds that deprive yield as part of everyday good agronomic management, resulting in higher yields and returns. Cullers pointed to results on his own operation where he yielded an average of 73 bu/A across all his soybean fields-almost twice the Missouri state average-by following the secrets to success he outlined in his breakfast presentation.

"I'm proud to have achieved the world record soybean yield of 154.74 bu/A," said Cullers. "But the same fundamentals of good genetics, disease and insect control give me winning yields across all my soybean fields."

Cullers emphasized that there are really no secrets to growing high yield soybeans. The production practices he used are techniques being used by other successful growers around the country. "It's clear to me that Plant Health is a key to high yields," said Cullers. "With Headline fungicide and Respect insecticide, I know I'm helping to get the most out of every soybean plant," said Cullers who grows 7,000 acres of soybeans and corn in southwest Missouri.

Challenge for Growers
Cullers challenged the SOY growers to join him in pushing the limits of soybean yields across the country. "With attention to detail, proactive disease and insect management, and the right genetics, who knows how far we can increase yields next year," Cullers told producers at the breakfast.

The registration deadline for the 2008 SOY program is extended to March 14.