Researcher seeks no-till soybean yield loss answers

A researcher says there are many advantages to no-till planting, but he’s trying to solve a common yield loss problem. 

Shawn Conley

Shawn Conley with the University of Wisconsin and the state’s soybean program tells Brownfield farmers are improving soil health with no-till practices, but there’s a downside for some soybean growers. “We’re looking at, also, what’s going on when we’re no-tilling soybeans into some of this really heavy corn residue. We have this slow-growth syndrome occurring, and we’re starting to see kind of a yield penalty.”

Conley tells Brownfield he believes the reason soybeans are lagging is that the preceding corn crop was so good. “On the corn side, I talked to farmers, and in the last five years, I bet three of the last five years, they’ve had record corn production. When you get record corn production, you get record corn biomass going back out onto the field and it’s a challenge for soybeans when you’re no-tilling into that.”

Conley says he’s like to help farmers avoid returning to more tillage, so part of this year’s research is to try different practices with soybeans planted in heavy corn residue to try and eliminate yield losses.

Conley spoke to Brownfield during the Wisconsin Corn Soy Pork Expo in Wisconsin Dells.

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