Ashlock, a veteran soybean researcher/agronomist in the state, says “There’s plenty of incentive to try and win those awards – I think over $200,000 is available. That just points to the fact that the ASPB and ASA are really trying help growers to concentrate on what they can do on their farms to increase yields.”

Winchester, Ark., producer Nelson Crow, who harvested a 100.78-bushel crop in early September, “kind of woke us up to what’s possible with a 3.9 (Group soybean). We knew something that early had good yield potential but I didn’t think that the 100-bushels-per-acre would initially come out of that Group.

“And we learned! We learn from innovative growers and that’s great. They lead the way and they’ll be rewarded.”

More on Crow here.

While it was a surprise a 3.9 broke the barrier, was it a surprise to Ashlock that it happened in Desha County?

“It wasn’t. The weather pattern of the last four or five years has allowed many of the growers there to do well. We know that planting date is a huge deal. You can get hailed out and the seed company can provide more seed to plant, but they can’t give him the lost time back.

“Desha County farmers were able to get in earlier than folks in northeast Arkansas where it was wet. Now, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. But this year, it’s been obvious that there are some awfully good soybeans in southeast Arkansas.”

Now that the 100-bushel barrier has been broken, will there be a re-set in 2014? Will the promotions/contests shoot for 110 bushels?

“We’ll talk about it,” says Ashlock. “I’ve heard from some former board members who have encouraged us to raise the bar and push on. There is so much excitement about this! (The high-yield producers have) made so many folks feel like they’ve been a part of this, like it’s a team effort. ‘We jumped the first hurdle, now let’s keep going!’

“Nothing is set in stone, but I suspect the ASPB will want to continue the contest and push for even higher yields.”