Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good Reading in Rainy Weather

Chad Lee, Grain Crops Extension, University of Kentucky

No doubt many of you are finding ways to keep busy while we all wait for fields to dry by fixing the old tractor that always leaked fluid, mending the fence that the calves always seem to break at weaning, or  cleaning up the shop, or... perish the thought... catching up on the honey-do list. One more thing you can do while you wait for the weather to clear up is to take a look at the Kentucky SoyMVP report for 2009 and 2010.

In the SoyMVP (Management Verification Program) we have asked farmers to split fields and try to follow University of Kentucky guidelines as closely as possible on one half. On the other half, the farmers can manage the soybeans however they choose. In both years, producers came out a little ahead, financially, when following University of Kentucky guidelines. The Kentucky Soybean Board is funding this project from check-off dollars. County extension agents have helped find producers and fields and our coordinator (now Amanda Martin) works with each producer throughout the growing season.

These fields are in real-world situations, because these are fields that you farm. Some were planted late due to  a wet spring, some had weed problems early and some had stand problems. All represent the situations many of you face on your farms as well. One common criticism of our research is that we conduct tests on small plots, or we "baby" the fields, or we don't test in high-yielding conditions. These split comparisons allow us to gauge if our recommendations are relevant for your growing conditions. The first two years would indicate that our recommendations are on target, but there is room for improvement.

Several producers have agreed to join the comparisons this year. The farms are in the Purchase, Pennyroyal and Green River areas. It should be another interesting year, once soils dry out a little and we can start planting. Until that happens, take a few minutes to read through the reports.

If you have a question about the SoyMVP, contact your county extension agent.

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