In the May 18 edition of No-Till Insider, I shared five trends we’ve witnessed from the highest-yielding corn growers in our No-Till Operational Benchmark Study over the last 3 years. With Nasdaq reporting a jump in soybean futures last week, I figured this week would be a good time to look at the top-yielding no-till soybean growers.

Here’s what we can gather from the last 3 years of no-tillers whose soybean yields made the top-third of the No-Till Operational Benchmark Study:

  1. Location counts. Just like with the top-yielding corn growers, Nebraska and Pennsylvania saw the highest soybean yields among the study over the last 3 years. Illinois also saw some of the highest yields in 2014-15.

  2. They apply more fungicides. At least 43% of the top-yielding soybean growers have applied fungicides to their soybeans the last 3 years, while no more than 38% of the average no-tillers used fungicides on soybeans during that same time frame.

  3. They apply more insecticides. Since 2013, the percent of top-yielding soybean growers using insecticides on their soybeans has been at least 4 percentage points higher than the average no-tiller, and that gap has continued increasing the last 2 years.

  4. Fertility may not matter. It may seem counterintuitive, but in 2 of the last 3 years the top-third soybean growers were less likely to apply fertilizer to their soybean crop compared to the average no-tiller. However, this trend flipped in the most recent benchmark study, with more of the top soybean no-tillers applying nitrogen and micronutrients to their soybeans than average no-tillers. Those intending to apply phosphorus and potassium to their soybeans were consistent with the average no-tiller at 64% and 68%, respectively.

For more ideas on how to push your soybean yields this year for maximum profits, check out our free eBook on “Growing High-Yield No-Till Soybeans.” To learn more about the practices of the top-third soybean growers from 2015, see the article, “No-Till Soybeans Set Yield Record, Corn Remains Steady,” from the Spring edition of Conservation Tillage Guide.