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Topping 100

Essary-Cherry Farms reaches 102.57-bushel soybean yield with First Acre program
By Sarah Geyer 11/15/2018

When First Farmers Cooperative launched its intensive management program, First Acre, three years ago. Essary-Cherry Farms was one of the first to sign on.

“We challenged Mike Clayton to help us reach a 100-bushel yield of soybeans,” says Jason Cherry, who operates the family farming business with his father-in-law and brother-in-law, Ricky and Kevin Essary. “In September, we beat that goal with 102.57 bushels.”

Mike, sales and marketing manager for First Farmers, was inspired to create the program after listening to farmers known for their high-yield crops.

The program begins with a few acres of the farmer’s high-potential land.

First, Mike and his agronomy team work on the soil’s nutrient levels, aiming for a 6.8 pH level and 6-percent base saturation of potassium. Then they write a script to increase other nutrient levels for a 100-bushel crop.

“The three things we can really make a difference with when trying for high-yield soybeans is an early planting date with a seed treatment, good fertility, and matching the seed variety with the soil type,” says Mike. “Then you hope for rain.”

Mike and his team scout the crop and pull tissue samples every week. Then they make recommendations to the farmers. For most soybean plots, they apply B-Moly™ (Boron Molybdenum foliar supplement) at stages V5, R1, R3, and R5 to set more pods along with Verdesian’s Take Off™ “to give the beans an extra shot in the arm.”

“Jason, Kevin, and Ricky already carefully manage their farm,” says Mike. “So much of what we did was help them fine tune.”

This year, Mike and his team are working with 18 farms and he hopes to add more participants next year.

“The goal of this program is to replicate success enough that we will identify those practices that producers could incorporate into all of the acres to help with overall yield,” he says.

As for the rest of the acreage at Essary-Cherry Farms, Jason says there’s one practice they’ll be using on other acres: “We learned that applying more boron and B-Moly will really give a yield bump.”

The farming trio says that participating in First Acre was an easy decision for them.

“We’re always willing to try something new to increase our yields,” says Jason. “Next year we’ll try to achieve something better.”

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