LIVERPOOL, NY — The dry weather last summer negatively affected many crops; however, “with soybeans, we did a little better this year with the rain we had in August,” said Mike Stanyard, PhD, senior extension associate Field Crops and Soils with Cornell University Cooperative Extension, at the recent Corn and Soybean Winter Expo.
Stanyard emceed the awards ceremony to the winners of the New York Corn & Soybean Growers Association 2016 Yield Contest. He described the season as “the good, the bad and the ugly” because of effect of the sporadic rainfall that blessed a few farmers and spurned so many more across New York.
Despite the lack of rain in most parts of the state, Stanyard said the contest received a record number of entries.
The national soybean harvest average was 52.1 bushels per acre with Iowa (60.5 bushels), Illinois (59) and Indiana (57.5) taking top honors. New York’s soybean production averaged 41 bushels per acre, a decrease of two bushels per acre from 2015. Farmers in the Empire State harvested 330,000 acres.
For New York’s 2016 contest, 87 soybean farmers entered and 43 completed the contest. Among the five regions — Western, Finger Lakes, Central, Northern and Eastern — 18 counties participated.
Scott Arliss, owner of Pit Farms, Inc. in Clyde (Wayne County) won first place in the statewide contest with Seedway’s SG 1776, yielding 87.41 bushels per acre. Keith Dawydko, owner of Anchor Farms in Clarence, Erie County, grew 82.55 bushels per acre with H24-26R2X to take second place. Jesse Snyder, owner of Jesse Snyder Farms, took home third place with 82.36 bushels per acre with AG 2431. His farm is in Lockport, Niagara County.
“It was nice to win again,” Arliss said.
He had won first in 2011 and had placed a few times since, but he enjoyed taking home the traveling first place trophy once again.
Arliss farms 1,600 acres, most of which Pit Farms owns. The farm plants slightly more corn than beans “but we’re trying to get to 50/50,” Arliss said.
A family farm run by Arliss’ two uncles, Roger and Larry Arliss, a cousin, Paul Wilsey, and himself, Pit Farms grows only corn and soybeans, but they have considered “dabbling in wheat,” Arliss said. “But we really don’t need to do more.”
Arliss’ grandparents founded the farm, which the family incorporated three years ago. Though they all perform different functions, Arliss appreciates the role each plays. At the Winter Expo, Arliss insisted that Stanyard recognize Wilsey for his work in planting the soybeans.
“I just fill out the paperwork; that’s how my name gets on there,” Arliss said.
He attributes their win to selecting a variety that has high resistance to disease common in his area.
He also advises growers to “plant recommended populations. We were planting 150,000. Keep your fields clean from weeds. Have a good spray program and scout for weeds, bugs and disease.”
Once his plants are established, he scouts his fields at least weekly and more often once he encounters a problem.
“Beans are pretty resilient,” Arliss. “We averaged just under 60 bushels across the farm, and that’s not too bad.”
He would like to add more acres to the farm and increase his average yield.
Though it’s a lot of work to achieve such a high yield, Arliss loves his agricultural lifestyle.
“I get to work outside and for the most part, it’s laid back,” Arliss said. “We do have busy times, but it’s nice to get paid for doing what you love to do.”
He added, “Now that we have this trophy, we’ll try to keep it.”
The New York Corn & Soybean Growers Association, based in Silver Springs, manages the state’s soybean checkoff, represents producers’ interests, and provides them with educational and networking opportunities.