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Published July 28, 2014, 10:06 AM

Best management practices for maximum yield

When reviewing average soybean yields across the state, South Dakota State University researchers made a startling discovery — certified research plots were yielding 20 bushels per acre more than neighboring fields.

By: Lura Roti , SDSU Extension Service

When reviewing average soybean yields across the state, South Dakota State University researchers made a startling discovery — certified research plots were yielding 20 bushels per acre more than neighboring fields.

“A true indicator of an information gap if ever we saw one,” says Gregg Carlson, professor of plant science at SDSU. “If top producers and agronomists are growing soybeans that yield 20 bushels more per acre than their neighbors’ fields, then we needed to do something to bridge that gap.”

Carlson and 57 other SDSU faculty, researchers and SDSU Extension staff teamed up with South Dakota soybean growers to compile a comprehensive manual filled with research-based best management practices for growing soybeans in South Dakota.

“This is the most complete set of best management practices ever published by a university anywhere,” says David Wright, professor and department head of plant science at SDSU. “The science-based recommendations are based on research conducted in South Dakota and surrounding states.”

The iGrow Soybean Best Management Practices manual and iBook are free to South Dakota soybean producers and contain the latest research-based information and recommend- ations on everything from row spacing, seed treatments and fertility, to pest and weed management.

“The great thing about this manual is there is a topic for every farmer; no matter what they are good at or struggle with,” says Matt Bainbridge, an Ethan, S.D., soybean, corn and cattle producer.

Also a South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council board member, Bainbridge was one of several South Dakota soybean farmers consulted on what topics should be covered in the manual.

“This was truly a collaborative effort with soybean growers and their checkoff,” says David Clay, professor of soil science at SDSU and one of the manual’s six editors. “They developed the table of contents and provided input. Farmers know what their problems are and have a good idea of what needs to be in the manual to address those questions.”

Clay adds that Bainbridge and other soybean growers continue to remain involved through regular communication with SDSU faculty and staff.

In-field access

Designed as an easy-to-use, go-to resource, the iGrow Soybean Best Management Practices manual is the first best practices manual published by SDSU Extension in both print and iBook format.

“This is a 500-page manual,” says Lindsey Gerard, iGrow technology coordinator. “For our grower’s convenience it made sense to also publish it as an iBook.” Gerard explains that not only does the iBook make the information portable, but it’s also easy to search.

“Farmers don’t have to flip through the table of contents to find information they need. They simply search the iBook and all references pop-up.”

This growing season, SDSU faculty and staff will work with farmers across South Dakota’s soybean country conducting several on-farm trials, the results of which will be included in future updates.

“By sharing research-based best practices, growers can rest assured that recommendations have already been tested and proven themselves to work in South Dakota soybean fields,” Clay says.

The iGrow Soybean Best Management Practices manual is available to all South Dakota soybean growers free of charge by contacting the South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council or through the free iBook app on an iPad. To learn more or to participate in on-farm research, contact Gregg Carlson at Gregg.carlson@ sdstate.edu or 605-688-4600.

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