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Farmers: Enter last Michigan soybean yield contest

Nine hundred fifty-two entries from 665 farmers in 28 counties have participated in the Michigan soybean yield contest over the past thirteen years. 

Now farmers can enter the 2019 contest, which will be the last state level contest for Michigan soybean farmers, as there is planned a national soybean yield contest for 2020.    

The yield contest is sponsored by the Michigan soybean checkoff program and Spartan Agricultural Consulting. 

The contest brochure, including the entry form, is now available at the website. Or farmers can simply Google "2019 Michigan soybean yield contest" to get the brochure and entry form online.

Brochures are also being mailed to recent participants.

Although the contest is not a research-based checkoff project, it is something that any Michigan soybean farmer can enter, have some fun and see if there is something they can do to increase yields on their farm.  

Past years have shown that even some simple things can make a difference in yields.  

These practices have included:

• More and higher contest yields have occurred in tilled fields than in no-till fields.

• More and higher contest yields have occurred in wider row widths than in those with narrower row widths.  No one in the top ten had a row width of less than 15 inches, while 40 percent of the bottom ten yielding entries still planted with a drill in 7.5 inch rows.

• Fully 90 percent of the bottom ten yielding entries did not know if their contest field had a history of Soybean cyst nematodes. 

Eighty percent of the top ten yielding entries did know this.

• 83 percent of the top group had soil tested recently while 60 percent of the bottom group had not done a basic soil test recently.

For 2019 the entry fee is $25 if paid by September 7, or $50 after September 7, with a two-entry limit.  

Awards will be presented at the 2020 Great Lakes Crops Summit, January 29-30, 2020 in Mt. Pleasant. For more information about the contest, contact Ned Birkey at or 734-260-3442.