The theoretical yield of soybeans varies depending on who you talk to, but by all accounts the oilseed should be able to top 300 bushels per acre.

For growers who deal with the reality of growing the crop in Ontario, a more realistic target is 80 bu/ac, says Syngenta agronomist Eric Richter. With the 2018 provincial average yield checking in at an estimated 53 bu/ac, there’s certainly reason to believe that 80 bushels is achievable for many growers in the province.

Last year, Ontario’s soybean crop smashed the previous record of 48.3 set in 2012 by five bushels. On this edition of RealAgriculture’s Soybean School, we catch up with Richter at the recent SouthWest Agricultural Conference where he shares best management practices he believes can help growers continue to set yield records in the province. (Story continues after the video.)

Richter’s recipe for a higher yield is a combination of genetics, environment, and management — what he refers to as GEM. It all starts with selecting the right genetics for your environment, he says. That includes everything from choosing varieties that flourish at your choice of population and row widths, to effective disease protection against yield-robbing disease and pests.

When Richter discusses environment, soil health is a huge focus — it’s the key to strong root establishment that allows the plant to tap into available soil nutrients made available via an effective fertility plan. Many growers say Mother Nature and August rains always have the final say in determining yield. Richter doesn’t dispute that claim but he does believe that good management can improve performance in high-yield environments and mitigate losses in challenging low-yield environments. With a sharper focus on factors such stand establishment and canopy management, Ontario growers can indeed make 80 bushels a reality, says Richter.

Click here for more Soybean School episodes.

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