Students from Montezuma High School FFA in east central Iowa in mid-September participated in a "Pod Patrol" event to learn about the latest advances in soybean technology. More than 25 students walked the soybean field of farmers Paul and Lavern Kriegel, searching for more three- and four-bean and sometimes five-bean pods that farmers are observing with Monsanto's Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans.
"We had the opportunity to meet with the local FFA chapter and help them learn more about soybean trait technology," says Lisa Flynn, Monsanto soybean traits marketing manager. "It's very exciting to help students understand that by 2050 we're going to have more than 9 billion people on this earth, so increasing yield in corn and soybeans is important."
Kruger seed brand agronomist Blair Fuessley led the pod patrol event to observe the performance of Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield technology, which delivers more beans per pod compared to original Roundup Ready soybeans, translating into the opportunity for more bushels per acre.
More pods, and more seeds per pod, mean more beans produced
As students entered the field to search for soybeans, Fuessley answered questions and discussed key characteristics of the latest soybean technology. "A key characteristic of this technology is we see more pods per plant, more seeds per pod, more seeds per plant," says Fuessley. "It really does increase yield. In some places this year in Iowa and Illinois, we're seeing about 10% more pods versus the old technology."
When selecting soybean varieties to plant, he recommends farmers choose the best package based on issues for that specific field, instead of focusing on what happened last year on a different field. "When selecting a bean variety for a field, you should look at various locations around the area, not just one, to see what variety might work best," advises Fuessley. "Remember, look at the entire package. Don't just take the number one yielding product. You want to put together a package of two to three top performing products to spread your risk on your farm."
Fuessley emphasizes the importance of high yield management. He's trying to get growers to look at using seed treatments, earlier planting dates, multiple modes of action for weed management, and applying foliar fungicide and insecticide treatments "over the top" when warranted.
High school FFA students get into field to learn about bean technology
Montezuma High School FFA adviser Rick Swenson says the pod patrol was a great opportunity to emphasize what he's teaching in the classroom and through FFA. "We have a number of students interested in agriculture who don't necessarily have a farming background, so this was a good chance to get them in the field and really show them what kind of technology is needed to grow soybeans," Swenson notes. "It was also a great opportunity to expand on what we're sharing in the classroom."
Flynn emphasizes to students and farmers the importance of soybean technology to support future yield improvement. "It's been about 15 years since we launched the original Roundup Ready advancement in soybeans. It's exciting to see that Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield is going to be the foundation for future soybean trait advancements," she says. "As farmers talk with their seed dealers, we want to make sure farmers are asking about the technology and asking for Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield."