Higher bean yields

Shannon and Ben Klumb, and their father, Larry, of Ethan, S.D., are gunning for high soybean yields. They have had one of the highest soybean yields recorded in the South Dakota Soybean Yield and Quality Contest — 86 bushels per acre in 2010.

“Most years, we don’t like to plant early,” Shannon says, explaining their high-yield strategy. Where they farm in south-central South Dakota, July is usually the hottest and driest month.

They put off planting until mid to late May so their Group 1 maturity soybeans flower in August, rather than July, when it is a little cooler and more likely to rain. For several weeks in August 2010, it rained one-half inch or less nearly every other day. “It was just like irrigation,” Shannon says.

Key Points

The Klumbs have produced 86 bushels per acre of soybeans.

They think 100 bushels per acre might be possible with today’s genetics.

Their strategy is to eliminate all sources of stress on plants.


The Klumbs use a lot of livestock manure on their crops. Between them, they have three 2,400-head wean-to-finish hog barns and a 700-head cow herd. They also background calves to about 900 pounds in their feedlot.

They inject hog manure ahead of corn and don’t add any additional fertilizer for the soybeans. They disk cornstalks prior to planting soybeans and apply a preemergent herbicide. If fields remain clean, they can apply glysophate once just before the crop canopy closes the rows.

The Klumbs plant the newest genetics available in their area and are pleased with Prairie Brand’s Roundup Ready 2 varieties.

“I think with the genetics we have today, 100-bushel yields are possible,” Shannon says. “We hope to get there someday.”

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BIN BUSTERS: Ben (left), Larry and Shannon Klumb have produced some high soybean yields. They think 100 bushels per acre might be within reach. Their strategy: Eliminate all stresses to the beans before they fill out the pods.

This article published in the February, 2012 edition of DAKOTA FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2012.