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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Soybean School Focuses on Increasing Yields

February 9, 2011

ADA, Ohio -- An all-star team of soybean experts will lead an expanded Soybean School at the 2011 Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference, Feb. 24-25, in Ada, Ohio.

Soybean School is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25.

"We'll have a full eight hours on soybeans, less a couple of breaks," said Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension educator who organized the program. It's two hours longer than last year's program, which attracted more than 400 participants.

"Soybeans are Ohio's major crop in terms of acres, but sometimes I think we put more effort into corn," Watters said. The state's average yield in 2009 was a respectable 49 bushels per acre, but "we can do better."

In addition to OSU Extension specialists and scientists with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, soybean experts from Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri will share what works in their states' soybean fields and will end the day in a panel discussion, moderated by Watters, focused on how that information might best be used in Ohio.

"We have thinner soils in Ohio, we've got disease, we have higher clay content," Watters said. "But Ohio producers can still learn from what's being done in other states."

The Soybean School program includes presentations on:

  • "Soybean Fertility," Robert Mullen, OSU Extension soil fertility specialist. "There's some indication that maybe we're shorting ourselves on nutrients, particularly potassium and phosphorus," Watters said.
  • "Fungicides: When Do They Pay?" Anne Dorrance, OSU Extension plant pathologist. "Our biggest limitation to soybean yield in Ohio is disease," Watters said. "Anne Dorrance will address phytophthora root rot, fusarium root rot, soybean cyst nematode -- and what producers need to be aware of."
  • "Field Crop Insect Update," Ron Hammond, OSU Extension entomologist.
  • "New Generation Soybean Specialty Products," Jerron Schmoll, soybean breeder with Pioneer. Pioneer is co-sponsoring Soybean School with Seed Consultants.
  • "Seeking Maximum Soybean Yield" (160 bushels per acre in 2010), Kip Cullers of Purdy, Missouri (sponsored by Pioneer). "Kip Cullers has a bit of a unique situation, and we can't do everything he does, but we can learn quite a bit about his practices, particularly about scouting and response, that help him get such high yields," Watters said.
  • "Differentiating Genetic versus Agronomic Yield Gain in Soybean," Shawn Conley, soybean specialist at the University of Wisconsin.
  • "Intentional Soybean Management to Yield," Shaun Casteel, soybean specialist at Purdue University.
  • "Increasing Soybean Yields by Using All the 'Good' Stuff," Vince Davis, soybean specialist at the University of Illinois.
  • "All-Star Soybean Panel" featuring Cullers, Conley, Casteel and Davis.

The Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference will be held at the McIntosh Center of Ohio Northern University. Early registration (before Feb. 15) is $50 for one day or $70 for both days. More information and registration materials are available at

"For the price of the ticket, Soybean School is a bargain," Watters said. "You can't go anywhere else in Ohio -- or anywhere nearby -- to get his kind of information and expertise about soybean production."

The Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference is the largest, most comprehensive program of conservation tillage techniques in the Midwest. Last year, it attracted 966 participants. About 60 presenters (farmers, industry professionals and university specialists) from around the country focus on cost-saving, production management topics. The conference is broken down into tracks covering soil and water; nutrient and manure management; advanced scouting techniques; cover crops; crop management; and planters and precision agriculture.

Sponsors of the conference include OSU Extension, OARDC, Northwest Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, the USDA Farm Service Agency, and the Ohio No-Till Council.

Martha Filipic
Harold Watters, Randall Reeder