2022 Pennsylvania Soybean Yield Contest Winners Announced
Lancaster County farmer takes top honors.
HARRISBURG, PA (December 14, 2022) – The results of the 2022 Pennsylvania Soybean Yield Contest reflected the toll a cool spring and hot, dry summer took on soybean yields throughout Pennsylvania. Lancaster County farmer A. Dale Herr, Jr. was the commonwealth’s top producer in this year’s competition. His winning yield was 97.49 bu./acre bushels per acre. Last year, five Pennsylvania farmers recorded yields of over 100 bu./acre.
“The number of entries and yields in the contest were lower due to this year’s growing conditions,” said Penn State Extension Senior Educator Andrew Frankenfield, who coordinates the contest with fellow Senior Extension Educator Del Voight. “Many of the contest entries were planted in late April and early May due to cool weather across the state. Rainfall was generally below average all summer. However timely July and August rains and soil water holding capacity helped the winners. We did not surpass the 100 bushel per acre level that we did last year, but there were two farmers who produced over 90 bushels per acre.
“Generally, there was good harvest weather,” Frankenfield continued, “but soybean dry down was not as early as in previous years due to wet conditions during the first half of September. Strong wheat prices prompted many farmers to plant wheat immediately after soybean harvest this year.”
The Pennsylvania Soybean Yield contest, which is sponsored annually by the Pennsylvania Soybean Board, recognizes not only the state-wide grand champion, but also the top growers in each of five production regions of Pennsylvania, based on maturity maps:
1st Place State Overall & South-Central Region – A. Dale Herr, Jr., Kirkwood, Pa. (Lancaster County); 97.49 bu./acre
1st Place Central Region – Eric Meyers, Mercersburg, Pa. (Franklin County); 85.05 bu./acre
1st Place Southeastern Region – Brad Keifer, Bangor, Pa. (Northampton County); 93.38 bu./acre
1st place Western Region – Randal Smith, Petrolia, Pa. (Butler County); 77.70 bu./acre
There were no contest entries in the Northern Region this year.
In addition to the statewide title, A. Dale Herr. Jr. was the South-Central Region winner with a yield of 97.49 bu./acre, which he harvested on September 28. He planted Pioneer P32T26E variety after corn with a no-till drill on 15” rows on April 28. He used a 2-pass herbicide program and applied a fungicide and an insecticide. He followed-up after harvest planting cereal rye as a cover crop. Herr’s area received around 25” of rain from planting to harvest, recording rain on 63 days. Rainfall during the growing season in the area was above average except for a dry spell from mid-July and mid-August through early September when they only received 1.5” in a 3-week period.
Central Region winner Eric Meyers harvested 85.05 bu./acre on September 29 with a Pioneer P36A83 variety. He planted the beans after corn with a no-till corn planter on 30” rows on March 23. He used a 2-pass herbicide program and applied a fungicide three times and an insecticide. He followed up after harvest by planting wheat for grain. Precipitation was slightly below average all year totaling around 23” from planting until harvest with 87 days with precipitation from March 23 to September 29. April and June were the driest months with less than 3” of rain; May was the wettest month with over 6” of rain.
Brad Keifer, the top grower in the Southeastern region, harvested 93.38 bu./acre on October 21 with a Pioneer P38A54E variety. He planted the beans after corn using minimum tillage and planting with a drill on 15” rows on May 5. He used a 1-pass post herbicide program and applied a fungicide. Precipitation in his area was heavier in April, May and June totaling over 16”. Rainfall in July, August and September totaled less than 9” with July and August around 2” each month. He received about 19” of rain from planting until harvest with 54 days of precipitation from May 5 to September 30.
The Western Region winner, Randal Smith, planted Pioneer P28A42X variety. He harvested 77.70 bushels per acre on October 25. Smith planted the beans after corn using a no-till corn planter on 15” rows on May 13. He used a 2-pass herbicide program and applied a fungicide and an insecticide. He followed-up after harvest by planting wheat for grain. Conditions in his area recorded above- average precipitation until the end of June. Then it turned dry and by September 1, precipitation was 3” below average. Temperatures were slightly above average all season.
As the top state winner, A. Dale Herr, Jr. will receive an educational trip for two to the Commodity Classic, the annual joint convention of the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, and the National Grain Sorghum Producers. The regional winners will also receive an educational trip to the Commodity Classic.
The contest was introduced by the Pennsylvania Soybean Board to showcase crop management practices of some of the top soybean producers in the state. A summary of the crop production practices from the 2022 contest entrants will be available from Penn State Extension educators and at www.pasoybean.org.
About the Pennsylvania Soybean Board
The Pennsylvania Soybean Board is a farmer-controlled Board responsible for managing Pennsylvania’s share of funds received from the nationwide Soybean Checkoff program. The funding is available under an assessment program, approved by Congress in 1990, under which soybean farmers contribute 50 cents of every $100 they receive for their beans at the first point of sale. Funds are used to develop markets, educate consumers, and research new ways to utilize and produce soybeans more efficiently. For more information, visit www.pasoybean.org.