What’s Bean Yield Potential?

Are you ready for as high as 100-bushel yields in your no-till soybean fields? Don’t think those figures are so far-fetched, as research being done in Ohio indicates such no-till yields are possible.

Even though some folks maintain that maximum yields are politically incorrect today, Dick Cooper talks about extremely high soybean yields with plenty of confidence. The Agricultural Research Service agronomist at Wooster, Ohio, has spent 24 years trying to get the highest possible soybean yields off an acre of test plots.

Cooper removes every possible factor that limits yields from these plots. He gives the soybean plants all the fertilizer and water they need, which might not always be economically feasible for no-tillers. Yet many of the highly practical management practices he’s used, such as early planting and seeding semi-dwarf varieties, have been adopted by no-tillers.

Photothermal Barrier

Because of these management factors and the recent discovery of a previous unknown barrier that demonstrates that soybean flowering is delayed by typically cool spring weather, Cooper has turned out yields well over 100 bushels per acre.

“This brings on the reproductive stage at a time of year when light intensity is greater and the days are longer, exercising the length of the reproductive cycle,” he says. While the theory can also be put to practical use by developing full-season soybean varieties with earlier flowering, no-tillers will have to settle for earlier planting until that happens.

Cooper credits warm spring weather with triggering the earlier flowering that leads to higher…

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Lessiter frank

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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