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Mark Huso (Special to Agweek)

Soybeans show yield variance

Harvest is still in full swing for many with a few sitting idle until corn. Pinto bean harvest is in its last days around Nelson County. We have been blessed with very nice harvest weather the last 10 days and the bulk of the pinto beans have been harvested. The fields that were short rainfall also were short pounds, but a majority of acres saw average to above average yields.

With comparisons of row spacing, varieties and flex versus cutting to harvest, we have much to debate as we make future decisions. One common theme among many farms was the non-darkening variety, Vibrant, yielding below other varieties. Both in conventional and upright system farms were expecting more pounds out of Vibrant. White mold ended up being an issue in only a handful of fields this season, and leaf rust showed up late in isolated fields so yields weren't affected.

Soybeans have shown the most variance this year in yields among my crops so far to date. The same farms have seen field averages of 50 bushels while another field only did 25 bushels. When a farmer asks me which variety is doing the best I respond with, "The bean on the best ground, with right maturity, and caught a rain."

Iron Deficiency Chlorosis was a problem for us early, so some marginal, poorly drained fields took a step backwards. Later maturing soybeans were able to take advantage of late July and August rains over the early maturing soybeans. Rainfall during the growing season was a premium. I feel certain areas went too long during reproductive stages without any rain. Leaves were showing drought symptoms for many days before we found relief later in the season.

White mold did hurt some fields that we weren't expecting. The fields that looked very nice with high yield potential but narrow rows were the most evident with white mold. More farms are spraying fungicide in their soybeans, and we may focus on more fungicides to handle white mold going forward. One farm had a side-by-side with two fungicides, but one was more focused on white mold and that treatment held a five bushel advantage over the other fungicide treatment.

Corn to this point has mostly been hand shelled with samples showing anywhere from 20-28 moisture. Not all corn fields are black layer at this time but very close. The corn looks to have decent yield potential. Rainfall will also provide some yield variances in certain areas. Stalk quality is being discussed as a concern due to drought stress, and I am seeing some of those issues in a few fields.

It certainly looks like the 81-85 day corn varieties have a strong advantage over the 73-80 day maturities, but we will let the yield monitor decide that. The past couple of years, the 20-inch corn seems to have outperformed the 30-inch corn, but I'm not sure if that's the case right now.

Soil sampling is very busy this time of year as the speed of soybean harvest is faster than cereals. Demand for zone sampling has increased every year as we continue to manage these fields more intensively in efforts to push yield in the most productive management zone and minimize expense in the poor producing zones.

Phosphate applications started two weeks ago, and our first nitrogen prescriptions began this week. This fall I will have fertilizer applied using many different methods. I have phosphate being spread and tilled in. We have multiple banding implements applying phosphate. Some of the banding machines also pull an ammonia tank allowing us to add nitrogen at the same pass.

Anhydrous still is very common in my area and many will utilize it. Urea will be spread for others. A couple of farms will utilize their no till drills and load up the air cart with urea to apply nitrogen for no till fields. Strip till was new to us in 2016, and I am excited to see the harvest results from that tool, but either way, prescriptions are being made to use the strip till unit again this season.

Enjoy the fall season.