If you’ve already harvested 70-bushel no-till soybean yields and think you’ve hit a yield plateau, Palle Pedersen says, it’s time to rethink the situation. In fact, the soybean specialist at Iowa State University maintains 100-bushel soybean yields aren’t out of the question.
“It is possible to grow 100-bushel soybeans, but you need to see the big picture and be prepared to do everything right,” he says. “What you do must be timely during the growing season. You must be ready to pull the trigger on any needed production practices at the right time.”
When it comes to putting together a total management approach for higher soybean yields, Pedersen says knowledge, management, timing and efficiency are all key parts. “The whole scenario of growing soybeans has been changing over the last few years,” says the agronomist who earlier spent time working in Wisconsin.
“With corn, you don’t have to make in-season decisions like you do with high-yielding soybeans. If you don’t make production decisions during the growing season with soybeans, you’ll probably end up with only 35- to 40-bushel-per-acre yields.”
Pedersen says soybean yields across Iowa normally increase by an average of 0.4 bushels per year. On the other hand, corn yields normally increase by 2 or 3 bushels per year.
In 2003, Pedersen had a 2.94-acre test plot where soybeans yielded over 100 bushels per acre. But even with this exceptional yield, the plot suffered from drought conditions during August.
He says the important thing to remember is that you…