AmericanFarm.com

Growers invited to participate in double crop project

By BRUCE HOTCHKISS
Senior Editor

(May 24, 2016) Soybean growers in six states of the Mid-Atlantic are being sought to participate in a wide-ranging search for how, agronomically, to increase the yield of double crop beans.
It is the initial project of the recently formed Mid-Atlantic Double Crop Initiative.
It was formed in response to a call — and funding — from the United Soybean Board for a regional effort to unlock the agronomic secrets of beans planted behind small grain.
The yield of double crop beans usually lags well behind that of full season varieties and the idea is to close that gap without sacrificing the yield of the first crop, which is usually wheat or barley.
There are three other regional coalitions in soybean growing states across the nation bur double crop soybeans aren’t as widely grown there as they are in Mid-Atlantic states.
But, the USB believes that with millions of wheat acres in the nation, there is great potential to grow more beans in a better way.
“We just need to grow a bigger soybean crop,” said Susanne Zilberfarb, executive director of the Delaware Soybean Board. “The markets are there and the people are hungry.”
Defining and leading the Mid-Atlantic project are a team of agronomists and Extension ag agents in the participating states. They include Dr. Robert Kratochvil of the University of Maryland, Dr. David Holshauser of Virginia Tech, and Extension agriculture agents Dr. Cory Whaley of the University of Delaware and Jim Lewis of Maryland.
The researchers outlined the project in this way.
“We’re looking for farmer cooperators to participate in the regional double crop initiative,” they said in a statement.
“We’ve found that besides allowing us a larger test plot, there are other advantages to on-farm trials. One of the most significant advantages is that farmers are more likely to quickly adopt new practices once they’ve seen it work on their farm, or their neighbor’s farm.
“Soybean agronomists from Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and North Carolina developed eight test protocols that we believe will give us some insight into how to push double crop yields to the next level,” the statement said.
Farmers participating in the project from the six states will be asked to plant and manage the on-farm research.
There are eight protocols for the study. Here’s a summary.
• Soybean response to a foliar potassium application.
To determine growth and yield of double crop soybeans treated with a foliar application of potassium at the R3 growth stage (a pod of about a quarter-inch on one of the four uppermost nodes).
• Soybean Response to a Foliar Nitrogen with Sulfur Application: To determine growth and yield of double crop soybeans treated with a foliar application of nitrogen + sulfur at the R3 growth stage (a pod of ~1/4 inch on one of the four uppermost nodes).
• Validation of Foliar Fungicide Decision Aid: To validate a foliar fungicide decision aid that predicts whether or not, and when to make a foliar fungicide application.
• Soybean Response to Ilevo Seed Treatment: To determine growth and yield of double crop soybeans with and without the Ilevo seed treatment.
• Soybean Response to Potassium Applications: To determine growth and yield effects of 60 pounds of actual potassium (100 pounds of muriate of potassium, 0-0-60) applied at or soon after soybean planting.
• Yield Response to Earlier Relative Maturity Varieties: To determine growth, development, and yield differences between the relative maturity normally chosen and one that is 0.5 relative maturity units (5 days) earlier.
• Soybean Response to Row Cleaners in Double Crop Planting: To determine the impact of row cleaners on emergence, growth, and yield of double-crop soybean.
• Reducing Seeding Rates: To determine if soybean yield is affected by using 40,000 less seed per acre than recommended.
The on-farm component is a key to the research project and the research team hopes to enroll farmer cooperators in each state. Launch time approaches. In Central Maryland, for example, planting date for double crop beans is between June 10 for barley beans and July 15 for wheat beans.
Farmers interested in participating are asked to e-mail Kratochvil at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
He said that if he hears from farmers in states other than Maryland, he will forward the message to the appropriate agronomist.