Mike Hook of Lake City (Craighead County), Ark., said a lot of irrigation, a high-yielding variety and the help of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service helped him take top honors in a yield contest recently at the Arkansas Soybean Association annual meeting in Brinkley, Ark.

Hook's 92.23 bushels per acre set a new record for the contest, and it earned him bragging rights and 50 hours free use of a Challenger MT755 tractor from J.A. Riggs Tractor Co., of Little Rock.

Eddie Tackett's 88.58 bushels and Paul Bingham's 87.59 bushels were next best in the contest. Tackett farms near Atkins, Ark., and Bingham near Trumann, Ark. They each won 50 hours free use of a Challenger MT665 tractor from J.A. Riggs.

Hook furrow-irrigated Pioneer 94B73 variety. He said he was also trying to win another contest, the Race for 100, and the $50,000 prize for topping 100 bushels. Tackett planted Armor 47-F8 and used border irrigation, while Bingham planted Pioneer 94B73 and used furrow irrigation.

Bingham gave credit to the Arkansas Extension service and said the Pioneer variety and 10 irrigations helped him achieve his goals.

Tackett, who won the contest for 2006, grew almost 3 more bushels per acre than he did in 2006, but he still fell short of Hook's yield.

Gary Sitzer, a member of the soybean association's board of directors, said the purpose of the contest is to reward the top producers and pass along their knowledge to other soybean producers in Arkansas.

“Early in 2007, we had decent weather, and I thought we might hit 100 bushels, then the August weather came along and negated that possibility,” he said. “A lot of new varieties farmers planted had not seen weather extremes like we had. We set a new record under those conditions, and it was amazing.”