As soybean yield results came in, Iowa’s dry August reared its ugly head, according to Graydon Marzen.
“It suffered,” said Marzen, project manager with the Iowa Crop Improvement Association. “There was just not enough moisture.”
The ICIA soybean tests showed a wide variation in yields this season, with Marzen’s colleague Ryan Budnik saying some areas withstood the dry weather fairly well. Some fields still managed averages of 70 bushels per acre, but other didn’t fare so well and were thrown out for data purposes.
“It was very pockety,” Budnik said. “I was very surprised that some of the locations yielded as high as they did. We had to throw out a few sites because of how dry it was and how little the plants were able to canopy. Then other locations had 4-foot-tall beans yielding 80-90 bushels per plot.”
Marzen said the southwest Iowa region was the best region for soybeans in their test results.
Weed pressure hit a few of the ICIA test fields this year. Budnik said they aren’t able to use products such as Roundup, dicamba or LibertyLink, which limits their herbicide options. The trials are conducted with conventional and treated varieties planted next to each other, which adds to the limitations for in-season use. All the traits need to be treated as conventional.
“Weed issues are always a problem for us,” Budnik said. “We are kind of an exception though. The normal herbicides that people are using we can’t use. We use mechanical hoeing, cultivating or walking fields.”
For the tests this year, Budnik said some of the added variation made the test results interesting to pore through. The organization wants to publish only the most helpful results, he said, which led to a few fields being thrown out of consideration due to the weather extremes in 2020.
After all was said and done, they are proud of the work done this season and hope it helps farmers make their decisions moving forward, he said.
“Ultimately, this year was quite a success with all the challenges that we had,” Budnik said. “We did our best to present the most honest representation of what happened in Iowa this year. There is a good bit of variation you can see in the single locations or even within a district. You can only work with the hand you are dealt.”