Jay Halbur, ISA farmer-member from Glidden

(Photo: Joe Hopper/Iowa Soybean Association)

Elevating the standard to increase yields

March 10, 2022 | Kriss Nelson

Strategies applied on the farm to help achieve higher-yielding crops was discussed on the first day of Commodity Classic during a panel session featuring farmers and their agronomist from Iowa, Kentucky and Indiana.  

Steve Schany, Iowa Soybean Association farmer-member and western Iowa sales agronomist for AgriGold from Emmetsburg, joined Jay Halbur, ISA farmer-member from Glidden, on the panel.

Halbur shared some of the tactics he applies on his family farm that has dramatically improved their farming operation. Much of the learning process has been through trial and error.

Early-planted soybeans

When it comes to an experience with early-planted soybeans, Halbur says they had unexpected results with the quality of the soybean versus the quality of the later-planted soybean crop.

“For early planted soybeans, you think of diseases, soil conditions, worrying about an early frost in the spring and having to replant. What we experienced was a fall weather harvest issue,” says Halbur. “We had early planted beans and we were unable to combine those fields on time because it was simply too wet.”

The Iowa Soybean Association has collected data on early soybean planting. Watch this video as ISA Director Brent Renner shares his experience.


Schany shared what he has learned as an agronomist to Halbur.

“How they apply their management style across their acres has always intrigued me,” says Schany. “They have mastered the technique of applying high management style across a large volume of acres.”

One specific area has been tiling.

“Too much water is one of the biggest obstacles we have,” says Halbur. “One of our best investments we have made is in tile. We can manage water, isolate the factor and control the weather the best we can.”

They have been able to recognize how important drainage is, says Schany.

“Soil health starts with drainage first – making sure you have enough air in the soil for those crops to breathe. They paid enough attention to ROI it made sense to start putting drainage tile out in the fields. That has been one of the things that have driven some of their success.”

Once the drainage issue was addressed on the Halbur farm, they could focus on fertility.

“They have applied a lot of emphasis on getting fertility built back up and fixed,” says Schany. “Replacing what they take off and giving the soil what it truly needs. That is key. Getting back to the basics a little bit on high-yield management and making sure some of those are a solid foundation before focusing on things like micro-nutrients.”                     

Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience. Classic is presented annually by the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers, and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. With thousands of farmers in attendance at the show, there’s something for all growers to learn about. This session was one of them, Schany says.

“The discussion was relevant information for the people out there. We have real farmers here today, and the panel was answering questions pertinent to their farms and how they can apply those strategies,” says Schany.