Ever been disappointed by 90-95 bu/acre soybeans? AJ Woodyard has. He wanted 120 in 2016, but late season the sun didn’t shine enough, leaving him shy of his record goal.
A self-appointed soybean enthusiast and a lead agronomist for Advanced Agrilytics, Woodyard aims to push soybeans to their maximum potential in any environment. How can you do the same? For starters, think of soybean management strategies just as intensely as corn.
Consider shifting your thinking from “big picture” to “your environment”. In other words, don’t manage based on national recommendations or even make decisions based on enterprise-wide averages. Manage for the actual environments within your individual fields.
“As I’ve walked fields over my career, you pickup on variability within every single field – regardless if it’s in perceived flat fields of central Illinois or something with a little more roll,” says Woodyard. “It’s important to identify the best acres within the field and those acres that may be water limited or water saturated and then learn how to best manage in each individual environment.”
There is a lot of opportunity for growth in our way of thinking about soybean management when you consider crop development in each of these environments. With the tools available to define environments today, farms can manage everything from spatially-specific variety needs, predicting how varieties will act and react to management tactics, and apply concepts to mitigate stress and address spatial critical fertility needs.
“Take into consideration that saturated acre. I don’t know how many calls I get during wet growing seasons about beans turning yellow and growers immediately assume we have a disease issue,” explains Woodyard. “Ultimately, after asking the grower to inspect the roots, there were very few nodules on those plants, indicating they weren’t fixing nitrogen.”
After properly diagnosing an environment specific issue, the next question faced is what to do about it? In this scenario, a farmer can be met with a number of options: Could we add inoculant through side-dressing or in-furrow application to areas at high risk of saturation? Does it make sense to get that acre off to a better start with an in-furrow fungicide? And how do I identify those areas prior to planting in order to put myself in a position to proactively make a management decision?
Advanced Agrilytics helps customers define those environments and help to asses what opportunities exist to manage against risks across your sub-field variability. This strategy can help put every acre in a position to win – in one specific field, on your entire operation, and in your neighborhood. Advanced Agrilytics goals are the same as yours – to help identify the opportunity within each environment to push acres to achieve greater efficiency and productivity.
“There are a number of variables that come into play when trying to get the most out of each and every soybean acre and it no longer works to apply a one-size-fits-all solution,” Woodyard concludes.