2021 Pennsylvania Soybean Yield Contest Winners Announced
Bucks County farmer takes top honors with record yield.
HARRISBURG, PA (December 16, 2021) – 2021 turned out to be a pretty good year for Pennsylvania’s soybean growers, especially for Bucks County farmer Nathan Crooke, the commonwealth’s top producer in the Pennsylvania Soybean Yield Contest. His winning yield in the 2021 competition was 112.43 bushels per acre, the highest yield recorded in the 28-year history of the contest. Four other farmers also recorded yields of over 100 bushels per acre.
“This year, for the first time ever in the contest, we documented a yield of over 110 bushels per acre,” said Penn State Extension Educator Andrew Frankenfield, who coordinates the contest with fellow Extension Educator Del Voight. “It came from an unlikely place, in Lower Bucks County, only 10 miles from the Philadelphia County line.
“The 2021 growing season, like most, had some ups and downs,” he continued. “Many of the contest entries were planted in late April during a good week for field work across the state. Rainfall was generally below average all summer, especially in the Western Region. Then on September 1, Hurricane Ida dumped a significant amount of rain across the Central and Eastern areas of the state while the West remained dry into the fall. Temperatures over the growing season were average. Over the course of the whole year, temperatures averaged 5-15% higher than normal, but most of that came during the early spring and fall. Overcast weather the first two weeks of October, which delayed soybean harvest, presented a challenge later in the season.”
The contest, which is sponsored annually by the Pennsylvania Soybean Board, recognized 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 & Southeast Region – Nathan Crooke, Perkasie, Pa. (Bucks County) 112.43 bu./acre
1st Place Central Region – Eric Meyers, Mercersburg, Pa. (Franklin County) 84.11 bu./acre
1st Place South-Central Region – Daryl Alger, Lebanon, Pa. (Lebanon County) 105.98 bu./acre
1st Place Northern Region – Raymond (Jerry) Martin, Wellsboro, Pa. (Tioga County) 73.34 bu./acre
1st place Western Region – Henry Sniezek, New Castle, Pa. (Lawrence County) 108.14 bu./acre
In addition to the statewide title, Nathan Crooke was the Southeast Region winner with a yield of 112.43 bu./acre, which he harvested on October 1. He planted Channel 2918R2X variety on April 28 after long-term grass hay using tillage and planting with a drill on 7.5-inch rows. Crooke used a two-pass post herbicide program and applied a fungicide. He followed-up immediately after harvest by planting wheat for grain.
Central Region winner Eric Meyers harvested 84.11 bushels per acre on October 21 with a Pioneer P42A96X variety. He planted the beans after corn with a no-till corn planter on 30-inch rows on April 28. He used a two-pass herbicide program and applied a fungicide and an insecticide. After harvest, he followed up planting wheat for grain.
Daryl Alger, the top grower in the South-Central Region, harvested 105.98 bushels per acre on November 3. He planted Stine Seed 37EC20 variety beans on April 8 after corn using minimum tillage with a planter on 20-inch rows. Alger applied a fungicide and an insecticide. He planned to follow-up after harvest planting wheat or rye.
In the Northern Region, Raymond (Jerry) Martin, harvested 74.34 bushels per acre on October 13 with a Pioneer P26A61X variety. He planted the beans after corn with a no-till drill on 15-inch rows on April 28. He used a two-pass herbicide program and applied a fungicide and an insecticide. He followed-up after harvest planting wheat.
The Western Region winner, Henry Sniezek, planted Seed Consultants SC7341E variety beans after corn using tillage with a planter on 30-inch rows on April 26 and harvested 108.14 bushels per acre on November 4. He used a two-pass herbicide program and applied a fungicide and an insecticide. He followed-up after harvest planting rye.
As the top state winner, Nathan Crooke 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 2021 contest entrants will be available from Penn State Extension educators and at pasoybean.org