Although Kip Cullers, of Purdy, set the world record for soybean yield last year he was not satisfied with his accomplishment. On Tuesday, Gov. Matt Blunt announced that Cullers has raised the bar even higher by topping his own world record.
"I don't have too many secrets," said Cullers. "I try new things each year and push my yields a little higher. I learned from the contest last year and applied what I learned to the acres this year.
"I'm not scared to try new things,"?said Cullers. "I have a wide base of scientists who I call on regularly. I'm not scared to ask questions and try new things. I try to think outside the box."
Last year, Cullers produced a world record soybean yield by growing 139.39 bushels of soybeans per acre. This year, Cullers' management practices allowed him to boost his yield to 154.74 bushels per acre.
"I plant the best plants for my area," said Cullers. "Then I use Headline fungicide and constantly irrigate the plants. A happy plant wants to produce."
Cullers has adapted his green bean management techniques to his soybean crop. In addition to the Headline fungicide, Cullers applies Warrior insecticide to the crop and waters the plants every day or every other day.
"Kip irrigates his crop with low volumes of water and waters the plants more frequently to cool the plants and alleviate stress," said Greg Sharpe, Missouri Soybean Association president.
The increase in water decreases pod abortion, which is the biggest challenge soybean producers have, said Cullers. Soybeans usually abort around 70 percent of their blooms or pods.
"I use these acres as a learning center,"?said Cullers. "This year, I took what I learned last year and applied those things to the crop. This is probably as high as I can go on this system though."
Cullers plans to look at the type of plants he is using on his contest fields and other factors in order to achieve even larger soybean yields within the next few years.
"I'm going for 200 to 250 bushels per acre," said Cullers. "That is entirely possible. I?need to build enough plant mass to sustain the yield. The plants I use now are getting too tall, but it is totally possible to reach higher yields. We just have to find the keys to unlock the secrets to do it."
On Oct. 6, representatives of the Missouri Soybean Association journeyed to Cullers' soybean plot near Stark City to verify Cullers' soybean yield.
"Soybean contest plots must be at least 10 acres," said Sharpe. "We harvest two acres, and if those are over 75 bushels per acre, we harvest two more acres to get the official yield number."
This year's average soybean yield is 38 bushels per acre. The highest recorded average soybean yield is 58 bushels per acre, which is around one-third of Cullers' 2007 yield.
"Kip's record crop from last year proved most growers have yet to maximize the yield potential of soybeans," says Dale R. Ludwig, Missouri Soybean Association executive director and CEO. "This is a substantiated example of how intensive crop management results in high returns and unprecedented soybean yields."
Cullers has been working in agriculture for over 25 years. In the mid-1980s, Cullers started K & K Farms with his former Purdy High School classmate Kevin Keeling.
The men raise corn, soybeans, green beans, spinach and other crops on around 5,000 acres of land located in Barry and Newton counties. The Purdy natives also own and operate Sarcoxie Nurseries.
Cullers lives in Purdy with his wife, Michelle, and sons, Namaan and Noah.