Three-peat pod feat
Kip Cullers has set the bar higher — yet again. The Purdy farmer established a world soybean-production record of 160.6 bushels per acre in the 2010 Missouri Soybean Association Yield Contest. The world record is 6 bushels higher than the record Cullers set in 2007, and more than 21 bushels higher than in 2006.
On Oct. 12, Gov. Jay Nixon and agriculture leaders visited Cullers’ soybean fields, in Newton County near Stark City, to join MSA’s 100 Bushel Club in recognizing the grower’s record yield. Nixon also presented Cullers with the Governor’s Award for Agricultural Achievement.
The 100 Bushel Club was formed in 2008. Cullers and Charlie Hinkebein, Chaffee, are the only members so far. Nixon challenged all Missouri farmers to follow their lead.
“Kip Cullers has made the most of the fertile Newtonia soil that he farms here in southwest Missouri,” Nixon said. “He grows a variety of good crops, but it’s the soybean that has made him famous. Cullers continues to take the science to a whole new level, and his work is blazing new trails that will keep Missouri agriculture moving forward.”
Cullers planted Pioneer soybean variety 94Y71 on an irrigated and conventionally tilled field. He used BASF Headline fungicide and DuPont Asana XL and Steward EC insecticides. His seed treatment included EMD Crop BioScience’s Optimize 400 and StollerUSA Bio-Forge.
Ever the innovator, Cullers tried something totally new this year in his contest plot. “I sprayed Cobra on my soybeans before the V-3 trifoliate leaf stage. It smoked them to the ground and then caused the plants to branch out just above the ground.” The result: soybean plants with five branches and 1-inch internodes spacing.
“If I can figure out just how to do that 230,000 times an acre — we’d have no trouble making 200-bushel yields,” says Cullers, who will not be satisfied until he reaches that mark.
The record-setting yield was planted April 14 and harvested Sept. 28, according to the Missouri Soybean Association. Cullers’ weigh check was witnessed and verified by a third-party, MSA-approved official.
Dry conditions have occurred in all three years Cullers has broken the yield record. “Weather conditions are a significant factor, and we experienced times when conditions were not all that favorable this season,” Cullers says. “However, with irrigation and managing for stresses along the way, yields came through.”
Cullers says there are exciting things coming in agriculture. “Other growers will be blowing past my yields. That’s fine. Whoever breaks my yield record, I’ll go visit their farm and see what I can learn from them.”
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This article published in the November, 2010 edition of MISSOURI RURALIST.