Illinois growers gathered in Bloomington last week at the first Illinois Soybean Summit. The meeting presented results from the Soybean Challenge Teams that worked to improve yields through innovative products or new practices. Beyond the team results the summit included keynote speakers and break out session to energize the farmers in attendance.
Keynote speaker John Baize from Baize & Associates shared the bright outlook for soybean demand. In fact Baize reported a 147% growth in worldwide soybean consumption from 1990 to 2010. Between more people eating and eating better, the need for animal feed and the growing interest in biofuels the demand is tremendous.
Population growth estimates take us easily from today’s 6.5 billion to a worldwide population of over 9 billion by the year 2050.
Keynote speaker Kip Cullers of Stark City, Missouri recounted the strategies that have taken his soybean yields to record breaking levels–160.6 bu/acre in 2010. Kip shared the challenges of growing in SW Missouri vs. the challenges in central Illinois. A couple of take away points that couldn’t be missed:
- What works for Kip might not work for you…but try something different if you want to learn something.
- Take a few acres and try things. If you can’t afford to “Fail” on a few acres you probably shouldn’t be farming…and you might just learn something that will help you on all acres.
- Study your plants. Watch them closely and get in front of issues. Don’t wait for problems to occur.
- Plants take up 90% of nutrients from top 4 inches of the soil and you better have the roots to do the job.
- Seed treatment is about as close as you can get to a silver bullet for enhancing yields.