Following Culler’s successes, Larry Purcell, University of Arkansas researcher, submitted a proposal six years ago. “He and his assistant been working in the same yield work and have been monitoring what Kip’s been doing – fertilizer, row-spacing, variety selection, planting date, all of that,” says Ashlock. Purcell has since “carried that around the state and is also working in farmers’ fields.

Further, “Jeremy Ross – current Arkansas soybean specialist -- has some research being funded by the USB. He’s been working with Extension soybean specialists all across the country. He’s been looking at what inputs can be brought to the crop to increase yields – the ‘kitchen sink’ approach. I think he’s in close contact with his counterpart in Mississippi, Trent Irby, and Louisiana, Ronnie Levy.”

A lot of researchers are looking at innoculants and different treatments that will goose yields. Ross “has had good success (at Pine Tree), where the soils are productive but not the most fertile. The check-off dollars have provided financial support for the researchers to get out and find answers on how to overcome challenges.”

Northeast Arkansas

While growing conditions have been excellent in southern Arkansas, producers in the north have not been as blessed.

“It was a very wet, cold spring,” says Clark. “The earliest soybeans planted here went in mid- to late-May. We kept getting intermittent rains. You could count on an inch-plus rain every week to 10 days. The bean crop is really scattered out. We quit planting after July even though some fields weren’t planted.”

Still, Clark says the bean crops here are fair. “I think that’s true for most of northeast Arkansas. I know the station at Kaiser is still wet.

“As far as plot-work we have some good beans – Jeremy has some that look very good. But the delayed planting for others has really hampered the crop.”

Ross, meanwhile, is working the second generation of a United Soybean Board-funded project started five years ago. “Originally, the project was conducted in six states and we got pretty good results out of it. From that first three-year project, we went to studies in eight states with more emphasis on what we’d found looked good earlier.

“Now, we’re in the second year of the second three-year project cycle. Last year, we got more good results.”

Ross’ Pine Tree plots were planted in mid-May, “so they were a bit late. We got a good rain right after planting. The three USB-funded tests came up looking great.”

On the Pine Tree station, there is a large deer population. Ross says “part of one of the tests was damaged from deer feeding early. Hopefully, (those tests will) come around.

“The main focus is what farmers can do to bump yields. What works best? What are the options? To get answers we’re looking at different varieties, different seeding rates, seed treatments, fungicides and insecticides, additional seed treatments, and enhanced fertility. Later in the season, we’re looking at foliar fertilizer products.”