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Soybean School: The Theoretical Top End of Soybean Yields And How to Edge Ever Closer

By: RealAgriculture Agronomy Team

March 17, 2015

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Perhaps you’re already acquainted with the wild world of theoretical yields. A theoretical yield is a measure of the genetic potential a plant has, if absolutely nothing hampered yield — not the growing season, environment or pests. Can you guess what soybeans’ theoretical yield is? Roughly 350 bushels an acre. Outlandish? Well, it sort of is, but the top soybean yield in the United States has topped 150 bushels an acre, can Ontario’s farmers push ever closer? If so, how?

In this episode of the Soybean School, Bernard Tobin asks series regular Shawn Brenneman, agronomist with Syngenta, first for his start-of-planting prediction and what pest risks are lurking beneath the snow pack, and then how farmers can start to chip away at sky-high soybean yields.

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Scouting is absolutely key, says Brenneman, as your crop should “want for nothing” if you’re after top yields. What’s more, farmers need to balance top yield potential with pest pressure, from soybean cyst nematode to white mould. And, speaking of scouting, remember that it’s early weeds — those out ahead of or at emergence — that eat the most yield. All that and more, in the video below.

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