Excess rain could affect quest for record yield

Thursday, July 10, 2008

This year, crop growers outside southwest Missouri could give Kip Cullers, of Purdy, a run for his money. Excess precipitation that has fallen in southwest Missouri may hinder the growth of Cullers' contest crops, which earned soybean production world records in 2006 and 2007.

"This is a really trying year," said Cullers. "It is just so wet. If we had normal rainfall, we would have an all-time record but this year we will be hard pressed to set any records."

When it comes to raising contest crops, growers would prefer it would never rain, said Cullers. Less rain allows the grower to control the amount of moisture the crop gets at all times.

"That's not great for the rest of our acres though," said Cullers. "This could be a good year for our regular crops."

In addition to managing 40 acres of corn and 40 acres of soybean contest crops, Cullers, who owns K & K Farms with Kevin Keeling, manages around 11,600 acres of normal corn and soybean crops in seven counties across southwest Missouri.

Although most of Cullers' normal crops seem to be doing well at this time, a change in the weather could affect those plants negatively also.

"Right now we are more worried about our normal crops than our contest crops. We aren't really able to do a lot for them right now," said Cullers. "If it continues to rain, our normal acres will do well, but if the rain stops, we will have a lot of trouble because our plants have not established a good root stand."

Under normal conditions, with new growing tips, Cullers could have surpassed the 154.74 bushel per acre soybean crop record that he set last year. That record smashed his 2006 production count, which was 139.39 bushels of soybeans per acre.

"Last year the conditions were so much different than what we have this year, but we learned that we need to make our soybeans as dark green as possible, which we do by introducing more iron and magnesium nutrients into the soil," said Cullers. "What we are really doing is increasing photosynthesis rates.

"Right now they seem to be blooming good and we are setting pods, but last year at this time we had full pod sets," said Cullers. "If we make 100 bushels per acre this year, we will probably be doing pretty good, but it is really too early to tell."

In 2007, the average soybean yield was 38 bushels per acre. The highest recorded average soybean yield is 58 bushels per acre, which is around one-third of Cullers' 2007 yield.

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