15 Ways To Make No-Till Soybeans More Profitable

Three veteran no-tillers share valuable tips and suggestions on fertilizer application, residue management, variety selection, planting methods, equipment setup and more.

With soybean prices eclipsing $14 a bushel recently, no-tillers are searching for any edge that could help them squeeze more out of every acre.

To do that, they must do all the “little things” correctly to maximize yields — whether it’s variety selection, fertilizing efficiently or calibrating their combines and planters correctly.

A panel of three veteran no-tillers shared tips for boosting soybean yields during a presentation at the 2011 National No-Tillage Conference in Cincinnati. Jim Hershey, Elizabeth, Pa.; Keith Kemp, West Manchester, Ohio; and Jim Leverich, Sparta, Wis., touched on both the obstacles no-tillers face in boosting soybean yields, and how they might be overcome.

1 Start With A Better Seedbed

 Hershey planted cover crops last summer in his corn fields to see if it would spur microbial activity, break down leftover residue and yield a better seedbed for soybeans the following spring.

Some of the cover crop seeds didn’t germinate due to a lack of moisture. But in those field locations where the seeds did germinate, “the cornstalks were much darker colored — almost black,” he says. “You can tell there was microbial activity that was helping to break down the stalks.”

2 Select Varieties With Maximum Resistance.

A no-tiller’s choice of soybean varieties is more crucial than ever with the prevalence of soybean cyst nematodes, frogeye leaf spot, white mold and Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS).

“If you’ve got some fields with these problems but you can use a resistant variety, it will make you a lot more…

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John dobberstein2

John Dobberstein

John Dobberstein was senior editor of No-Till Farmer magazine and the e-newsletter Dryland No-TillerHe previously covered agriculture for the Tulsa World and worked for daily newspapers in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Joseph, Mich. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism and political science from Central Michigan University.

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