Iowa farmer holding soybeans

(Photo: Joclyn Bushman/Iowa Soybean Association)

New data-centric survey announced

June 9, 2022 | Kriss Nelson

High commodity prices may support rising input costs, but that is only temporary. To help offset costs, farmers need to get the most value out of their soybean operations.

A new three-year project that will use farmers’ production data to increase their profitability was the feature of Tuesday’s Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) Innovation To Go Webinar series presented by Scott Nelson, ISA senior field services program manager.

“I am looking forward to production data to help us figure out ways to increase yields and break that 55-to-60-bushel yield barrier we seem to have in parts of the state,” says Nelson.

During the webinar, Nelson introduced the new North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP), a soybean survey that will utilize farmer data to develop more profitable crop management systems in soybeans.

“NCSRP is an investment of your checkoff dollars,” says Nelson. “The purpose of the program is to use farmer data to identify and communicate best practices for soybean profitability at a regional and local level.”

To obtain enough data to be successful, Nelson says they have set a goal of collecting data from 3,000 fields, or 1,000 fields a year.

“The more data we have, the better we can help you understand what is going on in soybean production,” he says.

Farmer production data is critical to the success of the program.

Help us to help you,” says Nelson. “We need anonymous farmer data and appropriate data mining. We are trying to take your production data, develop new insights into practices, and develop economic simulations to help you make wiser decisions with your input costs.”

Taking the survey

Nelson says farmers’ data will remain anonymous and they can start entering 2021 data now. The survey requires yield data, field locations, management practices, spatial yield monitor data, if available, or farm yield average.

Although farmers are encouraged to complete the survey, there are options to skip questions they do not have data for.

Crop scouts are providing stress information to help build an inventory for hot spot analysis.

“This will include where pest presence is greatest in Iowa. Are these diseases or insects moving or staying in the same place? This information will be essential to be proactive in your management,” says Nelson.

Individual crop consultants are encouraged to provide crop scouting data.

Survey results

“In the right hands, your production data can be golden. In the wrong hands, your production data can be dangerous,” says Nelson.

The NCSRP survey will be conducted by high-level data analysts skilled in manipulating large-scale data.

“We can do equal soils analysis if we have the data. We can do crop modeling - take management information, simulate different weather programs, and understand the stability of improved management practices. With the crop modeling, we can simulate what would happen in a dry year or a wet year,” says Nelson. “This could be a powerful tool to gain insight into what management practices are most stable and profitable for your areas.”

For more information about the NCSRP survey, contact Scott Nelson at 515-729-8207 or

2022 Innovation TO GO Series

The 2022 Innovation TO GO Series continues throughout the summer.

Relay Cropping in Iowa: Methods and Tradeoffs 

Tuesday, July 12 | 12-1 p.m. 

Learn about research into relay cropping rye and soybeans conducted by farmer cooperators in coordination with ISA RCFI and Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation & Development in 2020-22. Join ISA staff as they discuss the purpose, steps and results of the research and other ongoing projects. Register here for this event.

Drainage Water Recycling for Crop Production and Water Quality 

Tuesday, Aug. 2 | 12-1 p.m. 

Drainage water recycling captures and stores drainage water for reuse as supplemental irrigation. This practice can both improve crop production as well as benefit water quality. This webinar will cover what ISA researchers have learned about this practice and some of the remaining questions as we look at the potential feasibility of this practice in Iowa. Register here for this event.

Keys to Improved Soil Health, Water Quality and Profitability 

Tuesday, Sept. 13 | 12-1 p.m. 

Join ISA RCFI conservation agronomists as they discuss their role in assisting farmers and landowners with adopting conservation practices. An interactive panel discussion will highlight the value of cover crops and edge of field practices in improving soil health and water quality and increasing farmer profitability. Engage with our network of conservation agronomists to learn about available cost-share resources and more. Register here for this event.


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