Database Research SummariesValidation of Benchmarking Process Through an Integrated On-Farm Partnership
The gap between yield potential and on-farm average yield in the north-central region is currently 20-30%, depending upon location. In a 3-year collaborative regional project (NE, WI, OH, MI, IA, IN, MN, KS, IL, and ND), farmer survey data was utilized as a cost-effective source of information to identify potential yield constraints.
Self-reported field yield and associated crop management practice data was used to (1) evaluate current on-farm management relative to recommended optimal practices, and (2) discern the yield impact of individual factors, and their relative importance.
The goal in the 2019 field season is to validate this approach with on-farm field testing.
- Validate a novel research approach that utilizes self-reported on-farm production practices, together with on-farm validation, to identify management practices with greatest impact on farm yield and profit.
- Strengthen state-to-state research collaboration, build farmer-to-farmer networks, and identify and communicate the key management practices that increase soybean productivity and return on investment.
- Identify the factors that prevent most producers from attaining yields closer to the high yields attained by some producers. Once those factors are identified, producers and their university research/Extension specialist can focus on how to close the yield gap for each individual producer.
- Planting date, tillage, foliar fungicide and/or insecticide, and maturity group (and their interactions) were the most important factors explaining the yield gaps.
- In five of the nine regions, the highest yields were observed in early-planted fields.
- In some cases, the influence of in-season foliar fungicide and/or insecticide application on yield depended upon planting date and water regime.
- The results to date have been published in several publications and Extension bulletins:
Key Management Practices that Explain Yield Gaps across the North-Central U.S., Extension Bulletin
Sifting and Winnowing: Analysis of Farmer Field Data for Soybean in the U.S. North-Central Region, in Field Crops Research
Assessing causes of yield gaps in agricultural areas with diversity in climate and soils, in Agricultural & Forest Meteorology
Satellite Mapping of Tillage Practices in the North Central Region from 2005-2016 Remote Sensing of Environment 229: 417-429.
Assessing the influence of row spacing on US soybean yield using experimental and producer survey data. Field Crops Research 230: 98-106.
- Farmer survey data can be utilized as a cost-effective source of information to identify yield constraints and fine-tune management practices so that these yield limitations can be ameliorated or eliminated.
- Planting date, tillage, foliar fungicide and/or insecticide, and maturity group were identified as the most important factors explaining the yield gaps in this project.
- We believe that the proposed project will help farmers increase yields and profitability in an environmentally sustainable manner.
For more information about this research project, please visit the National Soybean Checkoff Research Database.
Funded in part by the soybean checkoff.