Database Research Summaries
High yielding soybean trials and real time forecasting and regional scale

calendar_today Year of Research: 2018
update Posted On: 12/04/2019
group Sotirios Archontoulis (Principal Investigator, Iowa State University)
bookmark Iowa Soybean Association

Research Focus

The focus of this project is to expand the Forecast and Assessment of Cropping Systems (FACTS) across the entire state of Iowa.


  • Expand coverage of FACTS from nine states (2017) to cover the entire state of Iowa.
  • Test agronomic practices that can increase soybean yields to above 80 bushels per acre.


  1. We expanded the current FACTS forecast systems from 6 to 8 locations and added more data variables for the user to explore. Specifically, we added “long-term” soil water, soil nitrogen, water uptake and nitrogen uptake dynamics in the website so that users can benchmark the 2018 year with the previous years. Data showed that crops grew faster due to warmer conditions and were also able to take up more water and nitrogen from the soil.
  2. From May 2018 until September 2018 we established and monitored three field trials located in central, northwest and southwest Iowa. Each trial had normal and high input management treatments. The high input management included irrigation and N-fertilization applications in addition to higher pre-planting PK fertilization rates.
  3. In each trial we measured plant counts, phenology, leaf area index, biomass production and partitioning and tissue N concentrations to calculate N uptake rates. Soil nitrate, water and temperature were also monitored to allow us to perform a systems analysis and understand the system and processes that are mostly affected by the high input management. Results are still being tested in the lab.


Iowa farmers now have access to a site that provides real-time forecasts of weather, crop staging, crop yields, soil water and nitrogen.

For more information about this research project, please visit the National Soybean Checkoff Research Database.

Funded in part by the soybean checkoff.