Georgia cash cropper Randy Dowdy has been farming for less than ten years. In that time he has broken the world record for corn yield, and now he’s laid claim to the soybean yield record.
Earlier this month Dowdy’s record 171.8 bushel/acre soybean yield was celebrated at a press conference hosted by the University of Georgia and BASF. Last week he visited Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show as a guest of Pride Seeds where he spoke to growers for three hours on his corn management philosophy and practices that helped him win the National Corn Growers Association yield contest in 2014.
After his presentation, he took a few minutes to share some thoughts about his soybean success. In this episode of Real Agriculture Soybean School, Dowdy says he simply takes the same approach to soybeans as he does for corn.
“There is no magic bullet. It truly is a systems approach. You have to check all the boxes,” says Dowdy. His checklist includes addressing standability, understanding and meeting the nutrient needs of the plant, mitigating stress and ensuring the plant has adequate moisture. Dowdy planted his record crop in 15-inch rows while keeping a keen eye on planting date, lodging, variety selection and plant population.
He also revealed that fungicides were a key contributor to the record yield. “One of the key times we spray fungicides is after our herbicide applications because we do injure that plant significantly. We’re trying to get it back in shape after we do that. We also look at R1 and R3 during the vegetative stage to protect that leaf. The leaf is our factory, we definitely don’t want disease to take that yield potential away from us.”
When it comes to nutrient needs, Dowdy says: “You have to know what the plant has in it, not hope what it has in it. A lot of people look at soybeans as a secondary crop. You need to feed soybeans just like you feed the corn crop.”
Click here for more Soybean School episodes.