Yield contests take time but worth the effort

Farm Forum

There is no time to waste when harvesting late-fall crops. Farmers never know when there will be a breakdown or a weather event that will steal away minutes from getting the crops out of the field and into the bin or elevator. They certainly don’t want to face conditions that strip pods from the plant stems or corn ears from stalks.

One important extra step that the McCranie family of Claremont has dedicated themselves to is entering the S.D. Soybean Yield and Quality Contest. Created to recognize and reward South Dakota’s top soybean producers, the contest encourages new and innovative soybean management practices as well as providing valuable agronomic data for farmers across the state. The McCranies know entering the contest takes time. “Because we do the yield tests, we know that it does take valuable time from our producers, but the results are extremely important for the Council for agronomic reasons,” Monica McCranie said, who is one of the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council board members.

Farmers plant seeds each spring planning for the best yields they can get. Nutrients are added and fields are scouted to provide the nurturing environment for the seeds to emerge. Not until the combine crosses the fields and grain flows into the hopper are the results revealed. By the end of August, soybean farmers needed to evaluate fields to see if they wanted to participate in this year’s contest.

Adam Herges, Market Development & Research Director for South Dakota Soybean Association said that 292 forms were submitted by producers to show their intent to be in the contest by the end of August. Now that harvest is underway, the harvest forms need to be completed to enter their information.

“Even if you’ve had a hail event or lack of rain, check out what your yield was for the contest,” Monica said. “You may be surprised.” So far only a few forms have been turned in; at the end of the season maybe 38 to 45 percent of the forms will be returned. “It doesn’t need to be the same field, but you need to have a field with the same tillage, variety and in the same county.”

On Oct. 10 I joined the McCranies just east of Amherst to see what the process entails. Since a witness is needed, Roland Pond from Insurance Plus was there to check to make sure the combine and trucks were cleaned out and that the grain was coming from a carefully measured out section of the field. Pond also verified with his signature that all harvest data was correct on the harvest form. A representative sample was taken immediately for determining moisture content. The soybeans needed to be weighed in a grain weigh wagon which was provided by Brittany Hanson, district sales manager for DeKalb and Asgrow, based in Watertown.

Last year, Monica won first place with 81.9 bushels per acre in her yield group, so her sons were determined to beat mom’s record. As of Tuesday, the family had completed three more entries and had four to go.

The soybean field I observed belongs to Matthew and Mitchell McCranie. Matt, 24, graduated from South Dakota State University last year with a degree in civil engineering. “I learned a lot of really cool stuff,” Matt said, but for now, he’s glad to be farming with his parents. In addition to engineering, he took a class in marketing and in precision agriculture. That has helped him with explaining some of the electronics in today’s farm equipment. “You just have to keep

Showcase quantity and quality of your soybeans

From the S.D. Soybean website

Soybean producers don’t to have the have mega-acres to enter the South Dakota Soybean Yield Contest which is sponsored by the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council. There is also a Quality Contest.

Any South Dakota soybean producer (owner-operator, tenant or tenant landlord) who produces 10 acres or more of soybeans in South Dakota is eligible to enter. A producer may make more than one entry per category, as long as the entries are from different field.

A contest field must be at least 10 continuous acres. A minimum of three acres must be harvested from this area. A third-party witness, such as an FFA advisor, university personnel, crop insurance agent, lender or other impartial witness must be present to supervise measuring, harvesting and weighing of the yield for each entry. Harvested soybeans may be weighed in a grain weigh wagon or on a certified public scale

Yields are calculated on the basis of No. 1 soybeans and will consist of the weight of harvested soybeans, corrected to 13% moisture, and converted to bushels per acre. Percent moisture should be determined by a local elevator operator or take an average of three moisture samples

Yield Harvest Forms are due to the South Dakota Soybean Association on or before Nov. 1, 2013. The form can be completed online at http://www.sdsoybean.org/yieldcontest.

Why enter? The winners are announced and awards are given at the annual Soybean Recognition Banquet on Dec. 11, 2013. First place winners receive $2,000 cash and up to $2,000 for a non-transferable trip for two to Commodity Classic which is Feb. 27 -March 1, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. “Being able to attend the Commodity Classic is a great incentive,” Matt said.

The Soybean Quality Contest is optional to enter. South Dakota Soybean Processors test and analyze the quality data for the Soybean Quality Contest.

Top two highest EPV in each maturity group (Groups 0, 1, 2 and 3) receive $500 cash for first place and $300 cash for second place. Direct questions to Kari Vander Wal at: kari.vanderwal@sdsbp.com or 1-888-737-7888.

Tips for winning yield contests

Suggested general guidelines for winning yield contests:

Used a narrow row spacing (15-22”).

Used a relatively high plant population (160,000 seeds/acre seeded).

Treated the seed with seed inoculants, fungicides, and insecticides.

Applied foliar fungicides and insecticides when needed.

Selected soybean varieties carefully.

Managed soil moisture and fertility.