If you’re a seasoned soybean farmer you probably make a reasonable return on investment each harvest as well as a steady yield. There are ways to really supercharge your soybean yields and some of it flies in the face of conventional wisdom.
First, it is important to read our blog post; 4 Basic Things You Should Know About Soybeans.
This will tackle the things you already know but might not be paying much attention to. Sometimes the status quo is easy to fall into and a steady consistent yield with middling profits is acceptable in a world of otherwise hardships.
Either way, dust off your basic knowledge and remember those important points and then take on board some of this information to really get a bumper yield.
As a soybean farmer you probably limit the use of fertilisers or avoid them altogether. This logic in of itself is rather sound as soybean crops are very susceptible to minor changes and fertilisers are often ineffective. But soybeans are not completely turned off by fertilisers, and a big mistake would be to think that using a fertiliser is a bad idea. In fact; it is a great idea you just need to make sure it is the right type.
You are probably not giving your soybeans enough Phosphorous.
At least, that is the latest findings after research has been undertaken in efficacy of fertilisers and soybean crops. The common finding is that potassium is readily available to the plants and most fertilisers are designed to provide in relatively equal measures the potassium and phosphorous. That means that while your soybeans are getting their potassium quota they’re falling short on their phosphorous quota. Far short.
It is estimated that soybeans require around 4 times more phosphorous than they get during a normal fertilisation which has meant that due to under-fertilising on this important component the historic yields for a fertilised soybean crop have been uninspiring. By selecting fertilisers to give all that additional phosphorous to your soybean crops you’re effectively ensuring a better yield. That’s the simple part.
Now the maths, calculating the all important return on investment.
Soybean yields fluctuate drastically between different farms and different farming techniques. By saying that your yield will improve with an increase of phosphorous you will then need to do a few calculations to make sure that the price of the fertiliser is nicely offset by your profit margins. Now soybeans really don’t have a stable price, because the industry is growing and the demand is increasing the prices have an upwards trend. But with good harvests this can easily plateau. So, the easiest way to calculate this is to work out the percentage increase in yield.
The research conducted showed that adding additional phosphorous equated to an extra 3-4 bushels per acre. Depending on your acreage this could be a truly astounding increase in yield. If you’re expecting around 40 bushels per acre currently this is a 10% increase in yield. That across your whole harvest is again a 10% increase in profit.
Then you have to calculate the cost of fertilising with that extra phosphorous.
Once you have done that subtract the cost of fertilisation from the increased profit margin.
It is as simple as that. The beauty of it is with knowledge of the futures price for your soybean crop you will have in advance a fairly specific figure that you can expect in profit. We have discussed money management and smart agricultural practices extensively over our blog, but the simple principles of profit are really realised in this application. Once you have that profit in our pocket it could go towards a treat, a well deserved family holiday or as we highly recommend clearing down existing debt faster. Having that mortgage cleared faster will really ease the stress as you advance in years. Being close to retirement and being unsure if your mortgage will be paid off is the worst situation and coupled with actively managing a farm it is no wonder farmers feel overwhelmed.
Soybeans are a very rewarding crop currently and although a little temperamental, if you control the variables they are very consistent in yields. So why not find out if all you need to do to get a record yield is add more phosphorous? If it makes money sense, then give it a go and feed back your findings and results in the comments. We would be very interested to find out which of you lovely readers make the most profit per acre using the added phosphorous technique so make sure you comment your figures below. No prizes unfortunately, just bragging rights.