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SPONSORED: There is significantly greater yield potential of modern genetics on farms across the Midwest than we commonly believed.

July 29, 2016

3 Min Read

In an effort to help farmers improve profitability, Beck’s works hard to better understand the yield gap in corn and soybeans. The term yield gap has several definitions in the industry. University scientists define it as the difference between simulated potential yield using a crop model and actual yields. At Beck’s we define yield gap as the difference between record yields observed in yield contests and actual yields in our marketing areas.

For corn, we use 532 Bu./A. observed by David Hula (National Corn Growers Association 2015 National Corn Yield Contest record) as our benchmark. Our benchmark for soybeans is
161 Bu./A. as observed by Kip Cullers in 2010. These benchmarks offer clues as to the actual yield potential of modern genetics when management practices are optimized.

In some cases, the practices that led to record yields are not economical in that the costs are not paid for in additional yield. On the other hand, these yield contest practices demonstrate that there is a greater yield potential on farms across the Midwest than we commonly believed

At Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)® sites and in farmer’s fields across the Midwest, Beck’s conducts high-yield management research. In these plots, we manage the crop so that the only limiting factors are environmental such as heat, sunlight intensity, and rain for non-irrigated sites. We hope to identify new management practices that increase whole farm yield while decreasing production cost/Bu. with the data from these attempts.

The list below highlights our high-yield management practices for corn and soybeans as well as the rationale for the practices.

High-Yield Corn Management Practices



Seeding rates between 38,000 and 42,000 seeds/A.

Ears/A. is a primary yield component.

Optimum levels of potassium and phosphorous as determined by soil test

Reduce lodging, optimize kernel weight.

Starter and in-furrow fertilizer

Yield contest winners utilized starter and evelsin-furrow fertilizer.

Fungicide at the V6 to V8 growth stage

Strobilurin fungicides upregulate photosynthesis. When applying fungicide at earlier growth stages, we attempt to create larger ear sizes by upregulating photosynthesis during the critical period of ear formation.

Multiple applications and forms of nitrogen

Studies shown that optimum nitrogen is realized when at least two forms of nitrogen are applied at two different timings.

Humic acids and foliar feeding

Assure adequate micronutrients.

Late season fungicide

Fungicides are applied from VT to R1 to reduce incidences of disease and lodging.

Optimized harvest

Percent moisture between 20 to 24 reduces harvest loss.

High-Yield Soybean Management Practices



Early planting dates

Achieve as much canopy as possible before soybeans begin flowering.

Seed treatment

Provides early season control of seedling blights and insects. ILeVO® prevents Sudden Death Syndrome.

Starter and in-furrow fertilizer

Starter fertilizer in soybeans can optimize the canopy before the summer solstice.

Humic acids and foliar feeding

Foliar fertilizer is applied to reduce micronutrient deficiency. Products containing humic acid have proven to enhance yield in Beck’s PFR.

Fungicide and insecticide

Control soybean aphids and disease

Optimized harvest

High-yield attempts are harvested in a timely fashion to prevent yield loss from lodging or shattering

To understand the benefit of these high-yield practices, Beck’s PFR conducts separate studies such as nitrogen timing, plant population, fungicide vs no-fungicide, and foliar fertilizer vs no-foliar fertilizer. The main goal of this research is to reduce yield gaps in corn and soybeans while optimizing profitability.

For more agronomic information from Beck’s PFR staff, visit the PFR Report page on

Practical Farm Research (PFR)® is a registered trademark of Beck’s Superior Hybrids, Inc. ILeVO® is a registered trademark of Bayer.

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