A $10,000 award has been offered by the Alabama Soybean Producers to a farmer who can grow 100 bushels or more of soybeans per acre.
Participants entering the 100-Bushel Yield Challenge will select their five best contiguous acres from a field larger than 10 acres and have until July 15 to enter the contest. The plot must be located in Alabama and owned or leased by the entrant, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES), which supervises the contest.
The Alabama Farmers Federation’s Carla Hornady said the challenge is a great incentive for farmers to manage their crops for the best yields.
“Other states use contests like this to challenge their farmers, and we thought if they could do it, we could do it, too,” said Hornady, who is the Federation’s Soybean Division director. “It can also be a great way to encourage producers to investigate innovative methods to achieve better yields.”
State Soybean Committee members, who approved funding for the contest, agree the challenge can inspire farmers. Committee member Charles Butler of Madison County has high hopes for the contest.
“Through advancements in technology, yields of corn and soybeans have risen over the years,” said Butler, a 1974 Auburn University graduate. “We were trying to make 35 bushels per acre back then (in the 1970s), and 40 bushels per acre was great.”
According to a USDA report, Alabama farmers averaged 41 bushels in 2015.
State Soybean Committee Secretary-Treasurer Jeremy Wilson of Talladega County said the challenge pushes farmers to seek the best production methods, including the use of water, fertilizer, planting rates and other input considerations.
“I think the goal will be exceeded,” Wilson said. “The capabilities of doing it exist. We’ve even topped 100 bushels per acre on parts of our farm. Even though I can’t enter the contest, I want to encourage other farmers to enter.”
Dr. Dennis Delaney, ACES soybean specialist, is a challenge judge, ensuring rules are followed and verifying the weight of trucks carrying the beans. Delaney said while yields as high as 90 bushels per acre have been documented in parts of Alabama, he is confident farmers will beat those numbers.
“The contest is an educational opportunity for farmers,” Delaney said. “If a farmer can win the 100-Bushel Yield Challenge, we hope other farmers will attempt to break the record in the future.”
Entries must be submitted by July 15, 2016, to Dr. Dennis Delaney, 119 Extension Hall, Auburn University, Alabama 36849, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit aces.edu/anr/crops for more information.