Soybean producer breaks world record

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A local soybean producer has broken his own world record.

The 100 Bushel Club announced this week that Kip Cullers, of Purdy, produced a record 160.6 bushels per acre. The new world record is six bushels higher than the record Cullers set in 2007.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon visited the soybean fields of Cullers, located in Newton County near Stark City, to recognize the grower's 2010 record yield. Cullers has set multiple world records for soybean yields. In 2007, Cullers' yield was 154.57 bushels per acre.

"Agriculture is the backbone of Missouri's economy, and growers like Kip Cullers are the reason why," said Nixon. "Missouri farmers feed, fuel and clothe the world. They also create jobs, support local businesses and help our communities thrive. When it comes to soybeans, Kip Cullers continues to take the science to a whole new level and his work is blazing new trails that will keep Missouri agriculture moving forward."

Cullers set the new world record by planting Pioneer soybean variety 94Y71 on an irrigated and conventionally tilled field. He used a variety of commercial fungicides and insecticides, as well as seed treatments.

Cullers' record-setting yield was planted April 14 and harvested Sept. 28. Cullers' weigh check was witnessed and verified by a third party official approved by the Missouri Soybean Association (MSA).

"Weather conditions are also a significant factor, and we experienced times when conditions were not all that favorable this season," Cullers said. "However, with irrigation and managing for stresses along the way, yields came through."

In 2006, Cullers set a world soybean record by producing 139 bushels per acre. He surpassed that mark by nearly 16 bushels the following year. When another grower achieved a yield over 100 bushels per acre in 2008, the 100 Bushel Club was formed, and Cullers was inducted.

"Reaching this unprecedented level shows the yield capacity soybeans can obtain and the potential for higher-yielding soybeans," said Dale R. Ludwig, executive director and chief executive officer for MSA. "Kip's new record shows we have yet to maximize the yield potential of soybeans and is a great example of how intensive crop management can push soybeans to higher yields."

Breaking the 100-bushel -per-acre mark has become more achievable as new technologies allow researchers to develop products with a complete package of characteristics that protect soybeans against the stresses during the growing season and allow for full yield potential.

Cullers' attention to detail and a proactive management style have also continued to help him achieve higher yields and set a new record. He scouts his fields closely and checks them on a daily basis for production challenges, such as disease and insects. He said selecting the right seed and a good crop protection program are critical elements to growing higher-yielding crops.

"I've learned over the course of more than two decades of farming that setting the stage for higher yield potential all starts with good genetics," Cullers said. "From there, it's hitting the right planting date, crop management throughout the growing season and a willingness to try new things."

Cullers co-owns and operates a diversified farm, K&K Farms, located southeast of Joplin. Cullers has been involved in farming for more than 20 years, owning or managing farms in Newton and Barry counties. The farming operation is located in Newtonia and includes beef, hay and poultry.

MSA is a membership organization comprised of more than 1,700 farmers from across the state. The purpose of MSA is to communicate challenges facing farmers and rural Missouri to legislators at both the state and national level to increase the profitability for Missouri soybean farmers. MSA is directed by a volunteer board of 16 farm leaders.

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