Better Yields, Better Practices: Sign Up for the 2023 South Dakota Soybean Yield and Quality Contest

June 1, 2023

Each growing season, the South Dakota Soybean Association sponsors a Soybean Yield and Quality Contest. Open to any in-state farmer growing soybeans on a minimum of 10 acres, the contest is designed to encourage participants to finetune practices on their operations and, ultimately, increase both production yield and quality.

SDSU Extension agronomists and field specialists analyze the crop data contributed by contest participants. Their insights are then shared and discussed during South Dakota Soybean’s annual Soy100 event and other checkoff-sponsored events throughout the year. This gives producers the unique opportunity to take a closer look at localized results of various soybean yield factors, including weather, variety selection, pest management, tillage practices, fertilizer use and more.

Recapping Last Year’s Results

Yield contest results in 2022 were strong overall in spite of some weather-related challenges experienced by producers across the state. Dryland fields entered in the contest averaged 65.5 bushels per acre, which was on par with contest results since 2010 but nearly 6 bushels per acre lower than the average yield for the three previous years (2019-2021). For irrigated fields, the average yield was 80.6 bushels per acre. This total outpaced the contest average for the past decade’s worth of data but fell well short of 2021’s record-high 92.9 bushels per acre across all entrants.

The 2022 Masters Class winner was Bob Creasey, an experienced producer who farms near Geddes, South Dakota. His winning variety, Pioneer®️ P28A42X, yielded an average of 99.98 bushels per acre yield on irrigated fields — an impressive total given some of the challenges the 2022 growing season presented. Creasey is no stranger to the leaderboard, having taken top honors in 2020 with an average yield of 118.44 bushels per acre.

“I guess it's always been a challenge of mine to be able to get a better yield,” says Creasey. “That’s why I participate in the yield contest.”

His operation is located in Charles Mix County near the Missouri River, which provides ample access to irrigation to maximize yields. He also benefits from a lower overall amount of weed pressure than producers further east in the state. However, that’s not to say that he hasn’t had to tinker with production practices and seed selection to maximize yield on his acres.

Creasey works with Jason Schley from Next Level Ag to monitor his crops through tissue sampling and determine how to best manage in-season needs. “It’s all about timing and proportions,” he explains, “and making sure everything across the board is in balance.”

As a dealer for Pioneer, he also taps into local agronomic insights with regard to variety selection. “I rely on my agronomists and account managers to help me get steered in the right direction, what they think will work best for me,” says Creasey.

In addition to Creasey, here are the 2022 South Dakota Soybean Yield and Quality Contest winners within their respective groups and categories:

2022 Soybean Yield Contest (Main Class):

  • Eugene Johnson, Moody County (Group 0, Non-Irrigated; Group 0, No-Till)

  • Conrad Waldner, Beadle County (Group 0 or 1, Irrigated)

  • Dave Walder, Clark County (Group 1, Non-Irrigated)

  • Dennis Jones, Brown County (Group 1, No-Till)

  • Jason Waldner, Yankton County (Group 2, Non-Irrigated)

  • Raymond Hofer, Hutchinson County (Group 2, No-Till)

  • Steve Hagena, Turner County (Group 2 or 3, Irrigated)

  • Jon Schaeffer, Turner County (Group 3, Non-Irrigated)

  • Jake Wurtz, Charles Mix County (Group 3, No-Till)

2022 Soybean Yield Contest (Youth Class):

  • Jackson Hauglid, Moody County (Group 0 or 1, Non-Irrigated)

  • Ledger Burggraff, Minnehaha County (Group 2 or 3, Non-Irrigated)

2022 Soybean Quality Contest

In the South Dakota Soybean Quality Contest, winners included Toby Johnson, Moody County (Group 0); Samuel Waldner, Beadle County (Group 1, 2); Brian Schmidt, Turner County (Group 3); Ledger Burggraff, Minnehaha County (Group 1 – Youth) and Myles Kokes, Charles Mix County (Group 2 – Youth).

The 2023 Contest Is Now Underway

The cost to participate in the South Dakota Soybean Yield and Quality Contest is $25; payment must be received with your entry prior to August 31, 2023. The Youth Class is free to enter and open to producers ages 13 to 21 (producers ages 18 to 21 may choose between the Youth Class and Main Class competitions). A producer must first enter the Soybean Yield Contest in order to participate in the Soybean Quality Contest.

First-place entrants in each group and category receive a $2,000 cash prize; second-place, $1,500; third-place, $1,000. Youth Class winners receive a $250 cash prize. Visit the official Soybean Yield and Quality Contest page for complete rules and to sign up for this year’s competition.