Emerson Nafziger Attempts to Replicate Kip Cullers' Soybean Yield

Prairie Gleanings

This year at University of Illinois' Agronomy Day, Emerson Nafziger, an Extension crop specialist, showcased a plot ...

Published on: November 6, 2008

This year at University of Illinois' Agronomy Day, Emerson Nafziger, an Extension crop specialist, showcased a plot of soybeans.


Nafziger had one goal with this particular plot. His aim was to replicate Missouri farmer Kip Cullers' record-breaking soybean yield of 154 bushels per acre.


Earlier this week, I ran into Nafziger at U of I. He'd just harvested and tabulated the results of his replication experiment. Nafziger grew two plots: irrigated and not irrigated. The irrigated plot averaged 66.3 bushels per acre, while the non-irrigated plot produced 59.1 bushels.


Within the two plots, Nafziger applied a combination of nitrogen, fungicide, micronutrients, insecticide and a stem shortener. Both plots used the same variety as Cullers, Pioneer's 94M80.


"I don't know what else I could have done to reach 70, 80, 90 or even 100 bushels," Nafziger says.


At the end of the day, Nafziger expects two variables may have impacted his experiment: poultry litter and soil type. "I figure there are a lot of people that think poultry litter is the key," Nafziger adds.


However, Nafziger thinks soil type played a bigger role. Nafziger says Culler's farm in southwestern Missouri has a unique mixture of highly-weathered red soil, which is better at taking large amounts of irrigation water.


Nafziger thinks the irrigation water may have made the difference. The research plot in Champaign didn't take a lot of water. In fact, Nafziger didn't begin irrigating until August.


Nafziger says he'll run the study again next year with a few minor changes. Stay tuned to see if anyone can approach Cullers' record.

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  1. GeoDubyahLozer says:

    Dr Albert Liptay Director of Research for the Stoller company of Houston, Texas set the world record for soybean yield at 166.8 bushels per acre in 2009 at Texas A&M University. He applied a total of 90 lbs of N at three different times through a drip irrigation system. Every university agronomist in the country has stated you cannot get high yields if you apply N to your soybean crops because the N will cause the nodules to get lazy. Well folks it takes 5 lbs of N to make 1 bushel of soybeans. I have been experimenting with different ideas on how to raise 100 bushel soybeans. (1) I believe you must irrigate the crop either with a overhead sprinkler system or with drip irrigation. (2) I believe you need to plant them with a twin-row planter at 120,000 planted seeds per acre. I believe you get more branches when you lower your population. (3) Plant them early - in central Nebraska plant your soybeans before you plant your corn - April 15th should be your goal to start planting soybeans if the conditions are good. (4) Apply 4 0z per CWT of BioForge (a Stoller product) as a seed treatment. (If you want to apply N to your crop apply N at three different times: (1) 30 lbs at planting, (2) 30 lbs at early flowering, (3) 30 lbs at early pod. Eric Erickson of Funk, Nebraska produced 101.5 bu per acre this year. We took seven cuts through the irrigated field and the lowest yield was 94 bu/acre. Eric planted a field to soybeans where last year he lost a corn crop to hail after he had applied all his N for his corn. One of the key factors for his 101 bu yield was he repeatedly applied a very small amount of water through his irrigation system real late in the season. This produced large seed and heavy test weight.