June 2021 FARM INSIGHT
New York state isn’t known for being a soybean production powerhouse, but it boasts some award-winning soybean growers. Among them is John Zittel, who has won the New York Soybean Association’s yield contest for two years in a row.
His latest win came in at 87.99 bushels per acre—almost 6 bushels higher than the second-place entry. “Our passion for farming has been handed down through six generations,” said Zittel, who farms with his family near Hamburg, New York. “We believe in hard work and family values.”
The Zittel family’s farming heritage dates back to 1881. John Zittel, a fourth-generation farmer, began his career as a dairy farmer in 1977. He helped expand the farm’s dairy herd and now operates a diversified farm with beef cattle, other livestock and crops including soybeans.
He follows some proven basics to maximize his soybean yields, including:
- Seed treatment. Zittel favors ProfitCoat™ PB + OSI from ProfitProAG. This effective seed coating helps seedlings emerge faster and kicks off a season-long plant health enhancement system. “Getting a good start out of the ground is key,” Zittel said. “Healthy seedlings grow into healthy plants. Healthier plants mean we don’t have to spray for bugs.”
- Effective weed control. Weed control is essential from the start of the growing season, but you don’t want to stress your crops with AMS. It’s no secret that the high salt content of AMS and glyphosate can cause crop stunting and yellowing. Herbolyte ™ Plus is a low-salt adjuvant that includes a micronutrient blend to keep crops greener and less stressed after spraying. It works with soybeans, corn, canola, cotton and alfalfa. “We’ve had yellow flash in the past with AMS products, but with the Herbolyte Plus, we just get healthy plants that keep growing,” said Zittel, who mixes Herbolyte Plus with glyphosate. “I see better weed control when I include Herbolyte Plus, plus the plants stay green. More chlorophyll keeps the plant healthier.”
- In-season plant nutrition. Zittel uses a foliar product called GroPAL™ from ProfitProAG. This ocean water concentrate undergoes a number of natural processes to reduce sodium levels while providing a solution that’s packed full of other minerals and essential trace elements. Naturally balanced by nature, GroPAL helps maintain and enhance soil quality over time, when used as part of a sustainable soil health program. “I call this product ‘pond water,’” Zittel joked. “When I apply it as a foliar, my soybeans are a nice deep-green color. I see better plant health and have beans that pod really well.” Zittel also adds Molybdenum 3% to the foliar application with the GroPal to enhance soybean nodulation.
More flowers, nodes and pods = more profit
Speaking of soybean nodes, did you know that most soybeans contain 17 nodes? What if you could add one more pod with three beans per pod? How much would this boost your yield and profit?
“If you got an extra 35 bushels per acre, you grow them on 100 acres, and you estimate $10-per-bushel beans, that’s an extra $35,000,” said Dr. Jim Ladlie, Owner of ProfitProAG.
Also, did you know that soybean plants normally abort about 75% of their flowers? “If you use a foliar feeding program, you’ll take a big step to keep the plants as healthy as possible,” said Dennis Klockenga, a crops specialist with ProfitProAG. “That helps soybean plants hang onto more flowers, which ultimately means more yield.”
All this fits into the “Recipe for Success” that defines ProfitProAG’s system of Farming the Controllables—and enhances Zittel’s winning soybean yields. “Our mission is to raise high-quality crops and livestock,” Zittel said. “ProfitProAG helps us reach this goal.”