The 2012 crop year has been quite a challenge. The yield reports I’ve been getting are above average for the most part, except in the northwest corner of the state. A dry winter and early spring allowed for an earlier-than-usual start to the season and above normal temperatures moved crops along quickly. A few timely rains in late June provided relief for a large part of the state, but keeping up with water needs was a challenge. And we were fortunate to dodge potential disaster from Hurricane Isaac.
Hopefully, the above average yields and favorable prices will help many catch up from some less than average years.
When I reflect on the 2012 crop year, a few things stand out to me. The first is the importance of water. The number of irrigated acres continues to increase dramatically throughout Mississippi and we need to be forward-thinking in order to manage this resource. The Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board (MSPB) invests significantly in studying this issue. Learning how to be more efficient with our water will help us decrease our costs now, as well as help ensure the continued availability of water down the road.
The 2012 crop year reflects my opinion that there is no silver bullet for reaching 100-bushel soybean yields. In the absence of excess early rainfall that often limits yield, best management practices (BMPs) were validated by excellent irrigated yields.
Your soy checkoff dollars continue to fund research into how various production practices affect yields. In order to reach 100 bushel beans, farmers will need to use a system of BMPs that will continue to evolve with new and improved technology. Through research and verification fields, MSPB continues to identify and define the production practices that positively impact yields, and to provide this information to you the producer in a timely manner. After all, having information that will improve yields or your bottom line is of no use if it is not available to you.
Lastly, I am reminded how diverse and dynamic our profession is, and how important planning has become. “Back in the day”, working harder and longer with our head down and nose to the grindstone was thought to be the model for success. However, today, where the vote of a foreign parliament moves markets more than a missed rain, it is just as important to have our heads up to see ahead so that we can more readily understand the environment that we do business in.
I encourage you to checkout the resources on our website. Whether you’re looking for information about post-harvest practices, recommendations on how to manage herbicide-resistant pigweed, or educating yourself about the customers for your soybeans, www.mssoy.org has the information you need to improve your soybean operation.