Boosting Soybean Profits

first_imgThe quarter-inch-round soybeans grow inside the pods. The more pods on a plant, the morebeans it can produce. “This is the simplest management program to help soybean farmers become more profitablethat I’ve ever seen,” said John Woodruff, an agronomist with the University of GeorgiaExtension Service. On-farm testing began in 1994. These tests verified research results. “It costs about $5 per acre to apply the boron-Dimilin mixture,” Hudson said. With this year’s prices hovering near $7 per bushel, that’s a gain of $21 per acre or more. One chemical, Dimilin, controls the caterpillars well, he said. Georgia farmers planted 400,000 acres of soybeans this year. They treated nearly one-third ofthat with the chemical mixture. Processors crush the beans for oil. Food processors use the soybean oil in crackers, cookies,salad oils and dressings, margarine, mayonnaise, soy milk and milk products, and many otherprocessed foods. The oil is even used in cosmetics. Hudson said the program could increase soybean profits in Georgia by $4 million to $5 milliona year. “It produced such good results this year,” he said, “we’re hoping a lot more farmerswill enroll next year.” “The caterpillars eat the leaves,” said Randy Hudson, an Extension Service entomologist.”Then the plant can’t make enough energy to produce the pods and beans.” Gascho found that boron, when applied just before the pods lengthen, makes them growlonger. What happens to all those soybeans? Woodruff said the average person comes across themeight or nine times every day.center_img At the same time, other researchers and extension specialists were working to protect soybeansfrom hungry caterpillars. Woodruff said farmers are more likely to believe test results if they can hear about it fromother farmers. “It’s not that they don’t believe us,” he said. “It’s just that then they know itwill work on their farm, too.” Hudson, Woodruff and Gascho worked together to find a way to make it easy for farmers tocombine these chemicals in one application. What did farmers have to do to get the extra money? Just go through their fields one moretime, in mid-August, applying soluble boron mixed with a pesticide called Dimilin. That one-time application, Woodruff said, “can boost yields by three to, in the best cases, 10bushels per acre.” “Soybeans have more uses than many people even think about,” Woodruff said. Woodruff said the farmers testing the program have nothing but praise. “It’s not complicated,it’s not expensive and it’s not extremely time-critical,” he said. “It is very profitable for theeffort.” Georgia soybean growers put $2.6 million more into their pockets this year thanks to a newmanagement program. Livestock, including beef cattle, hogs and chickens, eat the meal that remains after thecrushing and convert it to meat. For several years, Gary Gascho, a researcher at the UGA Coastal Plain Experiment Station,worked to make soybean plants produce more and bigger pods.last_img

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