EAST LANSING, Mich. — More than 800 entries from farmers in 28 counties have participated in the Michigan soybean yield contest over the past twelve years. Now farmers can enter the 2018 contest with some recent changes of the entry classes to allow for a more uniform number of entries spread among the five maturity group classes. And more participants will be able to win prizes for high yielding soybeans even if theirs was not the highest yielding entry of a particular class.
The yield contest is sponsored by the Michigan soybean checkoff program and Spartan Agricultural Consulting. The contest brochure, including the entry form, is now available at the www.michigansoybean.org website. Or farmers can simply google; 2018 Michigan soybean yield contest to get the brochure and entry form on-line.
One major change made a year ago was the inclusion of a non-GMO category. This variety can be of any maturity and can be either irrigated or non-irrigated. Yields in this category have ranged from 88 to 68 for this type of soybean that commands a premium price.
Although the contest is not a research based checkoff project, it is something that any Michigan soybean farmer can enter, have some fun and see if there is something they can do to increase yields on their farm. Past years have shown that even some simple things can make a difference in yields. These practices have included:
- More and higher contest yields have occurred in tilled fields than in no-till fields.
- More and higher contest yields have occurred in wider row widths than in those with narrower row widths. No one in the top ten had a row width of less than 15 inches, while 40 percent of the bottom ten yielding entries still planted with a drill in 7.5 inch rows.
- Fully 90 percent of the bottom ten yielding entries did not know if their contest field had a history of Soybean cyst nematodes. 80 percent of the top ten yielding entries did know this.
- 83 percent of the top group had soil tested recently while 60 percent of the bottom group had not done a basic soil test recently.
For 2018 the entry fee is $25 if paid by September 1, or $50 after September 1, with a two entry limit. For more information about the contest, contact Ned Birkey at email@example.com or 734-260-3442.
— Ned Birkey, MSU Extension Educator Emeritus; Spartan Ag
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