A New Way to Look at Soybean Management

The University of Illinois is part of a large, multi-state research project funded by the North Central Soybean Research Program (funded by state checkoff programs) to look at effects of weather, soils, and management on soybean yields.

As part of this project, we need to gather basic information on at least 500 soybeans fields around Illinois for each of the crop years 2014 through 2017. These data will go into a large database that will be used to take a look at how management affects yields in a given soil type and with a certain weather pattern. In effect, each field becomes a “test plot” and with enough “plot” numbers we will be able to see effects of things like planting date, variety maturity, and other management factors on yield.

I’m asking for help from soybean producers and those who work with producers to gather this information. For now we are focusing on getting information from fields in 2014 and 2015. Each form has room to record information on up to four different fields. There are only about 20 pieces of information requested, including field location, planting date, variety, seeding rate, etc., but nothing (like names, dates, and rates of herbicide) that requires detailed records. Most of those with typical records will be able to fill in the information for a field in less than 5 minutes.

The more fields we’re able to get information on the more useful this effort will be. Anyone who wants to contribute by filling out a form and/or by working with a few others to fill out forms is asked to send me an email (click on my name above), and I will return the form(s) either as paper copies with return envelopes or as electronic files.

We’ll be asking again after the 2016 and 2017 crop years. As the largest and best state for soybean production, we are hoping to produce the largest and best set of information of all states involved in this effort. Thanks in advance for your help.

Emerson Nafziger