100-bushel fever: Arkansas soybean grower becomes 3rd in state to break barrier
Call it 100-bushel fever.
On Sept. 16, Rob Dunavant of Eudora had his “Race for 100” soybean contest plot verified at 100.07 bushels per acre. He follows in the footsteps of Nelson Crow of Dumas, verified on Aug. 30 at 100.82 bushels per acre; and Matt and Sherri Kay Miles of McGehee, verified Sept. 13 at 107.63 bushels per acre.
The Race for 100 was an incentive program begun about five years ago by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board and the Arkansas Soybean Association. A $50,000 prize was up for grabs and would be divided among the farmers hitting the magic 100-bushel yield.
Looking toward 110
Like the Mileses, Dunavant was using Asgrow 4632. Crow grew Pioneer 93Y92.
“I didn’t do anything special” to get the high yield, Dunavant, a third-generation grower, said. “I didn’t know about the contest until late July. I got lucky.”
However, next year, he won’t just rely on lucky.
“I’m going to get 110 next year,” he said with a laugh.
Dunavant chalked up the big yield to “some good dirt. One of my neighbors hit 99 bushels. His farm is right next to ours. We’ve got some stout ground here,” he said.
Gus Wilson, Chicot County Extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, has been involved in verifying more than a dozen fields in his and neighboring counties—with more to come.
“It’s just wild,” he said. “And now we’ve got people who aren’t even in the contest who want us to come out and verify just for the bragging rights.”
Over the weekend, while on a family visit across the river in Mississippi, Wilson said he got a call Sept. 15 from one of the eager contestants, asking Wilson to come out and verify that day. The farmer agreed to wait until Wilson was back in Arkansas.
“I wouldn’t say this was a once-in-a-lifetime deal, but it’s going to be hard to do this two years in a row,” Wilson said.
Plots in the Race for 100 are verified by three people who must be Extension agents and certified crop advisers. Dunavant’s field was verified by Wilson, Dwayne Beaty, territory manager for Pioneer; and Jerry Gregory, an independent crop consultant.
Hard work pays off
“We’ve got a lot of growers who have been working hard for this goal for some time,” said Lanny Ashlock, a former Extension soybean agronomist, who is now a project manager for the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. “We knew you had to have the right production environment for this to happen. It happened this year and it paid off for these growers.
To learn more, visit www.uaex.edu, Arkansascrops.com or contact your county Extension office.