Growing 40 bushel to the acre beans in this part of the country has become a standard for many producers but Kip Cullers is definitely an exception.
The Purdy, Mo., farmer recently broke yet another world soybean yield record, harvesting 160.6 bushels per acre.
Cullers set the new world record by planting Pioneer soybean variety 94Y71 on an irrigated and conventionally tilled field. He utilized BASF Headline fungicide and DuPont Asana XL and Steward EC insecticides on his soybeans during the growing season. His seed treatment included EMD Crop Biosciences Optimize 400 and StollerUSA Bio-Forge.
The record-setting yield was planted April 14 and harvested September 28.
Ironically, Cullers didn’t necessarily set out with big bushels in mind this year.
“We had two goals this year—we wanted to control the height of the soybeans and we wanted to control the white mold problem in soybeans,” Cullers explains. “We didn’t care a lot about the bushels.”
Not only was he able to control height and white mold, he was able to grow a record crop.
This makes the third time Cullers has set and broke his own yield records. In 2006 he set a world record by producing 139 bushels per acre. The very next year he blew past that yield mark by producing 154.57 bushels per acre.
And just in case there are “neigh-sayers” out there who think anyone can grow those kind of bushels on small acreages, Cullers challenges them to do so.
“We are a production farm here,” Cullers explains. “We do a number of variety test plots for Pioneer as well as contest plots for soybeans and corn.”
It was out of those test plots that Cullers selected his Pioneer 94Y71 soybeans.
“That variety isn’t even sold in this area. We chose it because it is a shorter variety that stands very well,” Cullers says. “It is a variety that is grown in the Delta.”
The key, according to him, is growing the right variety on the right acreage.
“Our goal is to take what we can learn from our test plots and contest plots, then take that and apply it to our production acres,” Cullers explains. “We always learn more from our failure then we do from our success.”
Those failures, over time, have helped Cullers annually average 100 bushel per acre soybean yields across his farm.
And this is coming from a guy who claims he doesn’t especially like raising soybeans.
“I like growing corn. That is my true passion,” he says.
Cullers has had no problem growing corn either, judging from the fact that he is a 10-time national corn growing champion.
Although being a champion has earned Cullers the respect of the ag industry, success comes with a price.
“Everyone wants to know the secret to increasing yields on their farms,” he explains. “They all want to know what the ‘magic bullet’ is that will let them produce another 20 bushels of soybeans.”
The answer, according to Cullers, is there is nothing magic about it.
“This is a total systems approach,” he explains. “I can’t tell someone in South Dakota to grow soybeans like I do in southwest Missouri. You just have to work with what you have, try hard and experiment some with different things.”
That is the information Cullers offers producers at the number of conventions, meetings, luncheons and dinners he attends across the country.
Cullers doesn’t attend and speak at all those events because he thinks he is better at growing soybeans than anyone else, he does it because if he didn’t they would all come to him.
“It’s amazing how many people want to stop by and talk at the farm, or come by and meet that crazy farmer who can grow all the soybeans,” he explains.
Stopping and talking to visitors on the farm takes away from the work Cullers truly enjoys—farming.
“A lot of what I do is walking through the fields,” he explains. “I have really good help and we have all the latest GPS stuff to help us farm better.”
As he leaned against the fender of his pickup truck, fielding calls from friends broke down in the field, Cullers humbly admits, winning yield contests isn’t what it is all about.
“It really doesn’t matter one way or another if I am a world champion grower because I am still just a farmer trying to increase my yields across all my acres,” Cullers concludes.