Database Research Summaries
Benchmarking soybean production systems

calendar_today Year of Research: 2018
update Posted On: 03/05/2019
group Patricio Grassini, University of Nebraska, principal investigator; Mark Licht, Daren Mueller, Iowa State University; Peter Kyveryga, Iowa Soybean Association; Ignacio Ciampitti, University of Nebraska; Mike Staton, MIchigan State University; Hans Kandel, North Dakota State University; Shaun Casteel, Purdue University; Laura Lindsey, The Ohio State University; Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois-Carbondale; Seth Naeve, University of Minnesota; Shawn Conley, University of Wisconsin
bookmark North Central Soybean Research Program

Research Focus

Soybean production is expected to rise to satisfy the increasing global demand for food, biodiesel and livestock feed. Thus, it is crucial to reduce the yield gap — the difference between the attainable crop yield, as determined by the interactive effects of weather, soils, and genetics, and the actual crop yield attained by a producer. This project aims to identify the factors that prevent most producers from attaining high yields accomplished by other producers. Once those factors are identified, both producers and their university research specialists can focus on how to close the yield gap.


The gap between yield potential and producer average yield is 20-30 percent depending upon the region. The research team’s approach combined farmer survey data and a spatial framework, which allowed them to identify yield limiting factors across millions of soybean acres in the North Central region.

2019 NCSRP Annual Report summary


The “benchmark data” helped identify key management factors across the region that can be used by individual producers to increase soybean yield on their farms and do that with an input-use efficiency that will improve bottom-line net profit. The team found that planting date, tillage, foliar fungicide and/or insecticide, and maturity group are most important factors explaining the yield gaps.

Sifting and Winnowing: Analysis of Farmer Field Data for Soybean in the U.S. North-Central Region Field Crops Research, 2018

Sifting and Winnowing: Analysis of Farmer Field Data for Soybean in the U.S. North Central Region Extension Bulletin, 2018

Key Management Practices that Explain Yield Gaps across the North-Central U.S. Extension Bulletin, 2017

Assessing causes of yield gaps in agricultural areas with diversity in climate and soils Agricultural & Forest Meteorology, 2017

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

Funded in part by the soybean checkoff.