• By Tracy Courage •
Phillips County soybean producer Neil Culp has set a record for soybean yield, recording 130.784 bushels per acre in the annual Grow for the Green Soybean Yield Challenge.
When the contest began several years ago, the goal was to achieve 100 bushels per acre. Culp is now the 24th producer to claim a spot in the 100 Bushel Club.
“This is an amazing accomplishment, especially with the difficult conditions we experienced here in Arkansas during 2021,” said Jeremy Ross, Extension soybean agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “Most of the fields where growers are breaking 100 are high-production acreage. They are old cotton grounds and probably some of the best soils in the state with good fertility and good drainage.”
Phillips County is one of Arkansas’ top soybean-producing counties, yielding an average 60 bushels per acre. That’s slightly higher than the statewide average of 50 bushes per acre.
Culp and his brother, Blake, are fourth-generation farmers who run Double A Farm near Marvell. They plant anywhere between 2,000 and 3,000 acres of soybean every year.
Neil Culp said he has competed in the Grow for the Green competition for several years. Last year, he cut 97 bushels per acre, just shy of the 100-bushel mark. This year he planted Asgrow 45X8 on April 13 and harvested on Sept. 14. He cut three fields: the first yielded 102 bushels per acre; the second field, 92 bushels per acre; and the third field yielded the record 130 bushels per acre.
Culp said he wasn’t expecting to set any records this year. But when he started cutting the third field, he knew it was substantially more than the first two fields.
“We really didn’t do anything different this year,” he said. “I did the same thing this year as last year. We planted seed and prayed over the seed. God did it all. We were very blessed.”
Credit good farming practices
Phillips County Extension county chair Shawn Payne and Ernest Bradley, a multi-county agent based at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, measured three times to verify the yield.
Robert Goodson, Phillips County agricultural agent, said the Culps’ success adheres to good farming practices.
“They fertilized in spring, they furrow irrigated four times, and they sprayed a fungicide and insecticide at the R3 growth stage,” Goodson said. “They’re very diligent in what they do, and they’re excellent producers. They have good fertility, and they take care of their farm.”
The Grow for the Green Soybean Yield Challenge is funded by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board using producer checkoff funds and is managed by the Arkansas Soybean Association. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture provides information to producers, and Extension agents serve as judges. The contest fields consist of 5 to 7 acres and must have been planted in soybean at least once in the previous three years.
Culp will be recognized at the Arkansas Soybean Association’s annual meeting in January 2022.
Tracy Courage is the director of communications for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.