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COMMODITIES

FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, March 11, 2013

Research shows intensive management key to higher soy yields

Farmers for years have taken advantage of soybeans’ ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. Corn following soybeans can yield 25 bushels or more per acre than continuous corn, according to Fred Below, University of Illinois plant physiologist. But what some farmers may not realize is the amount of nitrogen corn removes from the soil and the amount of fertility required to grow optimal soybean yields. Below believes many farmers currently are leaving soybean yield potential in the field

due to gaps in fertility and management strategies. “Farmers aren’t really managing for high (soy) yields, especially when it comes to fertility,” Below said last week at the Illinois Soybean Profitability Summit in Normal. The event was organized by the Illinois Soybean Association. “A lot of farmers put fertilizer on corn and expect soybeans to take what’s left,” he continued. “They don’t realize the needs of a highyield soybean crop.” The seed industry currently is working toward a goal of producing 300bushel corn. Below said the Holy Grail of soybean pro-

duction would be to basically double the U.S. average yield from 42 bushels to 85 bushels per acre. “A lot of people think soybean yields have stagnated. That’s not true,” he said. “An 85-bushel soy yield is possible.” Below highlighted what he believes are the six keys to growing high-yielding beans. The first factor, which farmers can’t control, is weather. But the second, fertility, is a yield-limiting factor that farmers can improve. Below noted cornstalks provide up to two-thirds of the potassium required for a following soy crop, but phosphorous

levels often are lacking in bean fields. “You’re not adequately fertilizing your beans,” he advised farmers at the summit. Other key factors to improve soy yields are increased focus on genetics/variety selection, maintaining foliar protection, the use of seed treatments, and row arrangement. Marion Calmer, a farmer and president of Calmer Ag Research in Alpha, said research on his farm from 2008 through 2011 showed a yield bump of 4 bushels per acre using 15-inch rows compared to 30-inch rows. U of I researchers last

Woodland owners and their trees contributed more than $23 billion to the economy of Illinois in 2010; however, that value could have been even larger, according to Jay Hayek, an Extension forestry specialist at the University of Illinois.

Recently, two forest economists, Ian Munn and James Henderson, analyzed Illinois’ 2010 economic data and wrote a report on the forestry industry impact on the state. Illinois woodland owners sold timber valued at $16.66

million in 2010, but they undersold their timber, Hayek said. “Illinois woodland owners have sold nearly $225 million worth of standing timber since fiscal year 2003, or nearly $22.5 million annually,” he said. However, more than 90 per-

cent of Illinois woodland owners don’t use the services of a trained forester to help them market and administer timber sales, he noted. Woodland owners who work with an independent professional forester frequently earn “25 to 220 percent more revenue and frequently leave more high-quality trees for future timber sales when they work with a professional forester throughout the timber sale process,” Hayek said. Given the economic value of Illinois’ forest sector, the state’s Division of Forest Resources and U of I Extension forestry staff levels should be re-evaluated to grow the forestry-based economic impact, according to Hayek. “It scares me to think just how big this number could have been (with) adequate professional forestry staffing,” Hayek said. For example, the state has not had a forest products specialist for more than 13 years. One of the main complaints Hayek has fielded from the forest products industry is that Illinois is unfriendly to small business owners in terms of taxes and the high

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

year conducted trials at four locations around the state (Champaign, DeKalb, Harrisburg, and Rushville) that compared intensive management soy production systems focusing on the previously mentioned strategies with conventional systems. The yield response to intensive management systems averaged 9.9 more bushels per acre at all the sites, according to Jason Haegele, U of I research associate. “We get the greatest possible yield gain with a systems approach,” he said. For more information, visit the website {cropphysiology.cropsci.illinois.edu}.

Timber: An Illinois cash crop, but value could grow

TIMBER NUMBERS 13.4 Percent of the state’s total land area covered by timber.

4.78 million Number of timber acres in Illinois.

$16.66 million The value of timber sold by Illinois landowners from their wooded property in 2010. Source: Illinois Forestry Development Council

cost of workers’ compensation. Those two factors combined caused many loggers and sawmills to leave Illinois for Missouri and Indiana. “Sadly, Illinois has lost nearly 225 primary wood-using sawmills since 1961,” Hayek said. “Today, there are fewer than 85 production sawmills left in a state with nearly 5 million acres of forest land.” The forest economic report, commissioned by the Illinois Forestry Development Council, is available online at {ifdc.nres.uiuc.edu/}.

WIU sets annual bull sale Friday

Western Illinois University’s (WIU) beef evaluation station will have its 41st annual performance tested bull sale beginning at 7 p.m. Friday in the WIU Livestock Center, Macomb. Fifty bulls are available for sale. Breeds represented are Angus, Hereford, Red Angus, Simmental, Gelbvieh, Balancer, Charolais-Angus hybrids, and Simmental-Angus hybrids. All bulls are Merial SureHealth-certified and tested free of Johnes disease, PI-BVD and known genetic defects. At the sale date, they will have completed a breeding soundness exam. The WIU bull testing station is open daily for viewing of the bulls prior to the sale. Lowderman Auction Service will auctioneer the sale. For more information and a sale catalog, contact the WIU School of Agriculture at 309-298-1080. The sale catalog and additional information also is available online at {wiu.edu/ag}.

FarmWeek March 11 2013.pdf  

FarmWeek March 11 2013.pdf

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