A tractor pulls an implement across a soybean field.

Variability has been the name of the game in farming the last several years. Scott Beck with Beck's Hybrids visits about how preparation and forward thinking can help your bottom dollar. (Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

The State of Soy: Season 2, Episode 9

September 10, 2020

This episode features insights from Beck's Hybrids on practical research applications to consider throughout the growing season. We also take a deep dive into the recent dredging announcement regarding the lower Mississippi River and the positive impact this will have on soybean exports. Then, we'll hear all about this year's virtual 4R Field Day and what to expect for tips to improve your operation. And, we highlight a Story County farmer who takes the concept of reducing and reusing to whole new level. And stick around for this month's "Through the Lens," where Joe Murphy travels to Cedar Rapids to document biodiesel's important role in helping Iowans impacted from last month's historic derecho. 

In this episode: 

Practical On-Farm Research with Scott Beck 

It doesn't matter what time of year it is, Beck's Hybrids says it's always a good time to be thinking of practical farm research and planning for the future. Scott Beck tells "The State of Soy" what he's seen from soybean fields around the state, and what to be doing this time of year to benefit next spring.  

Mississippi River Dredging

A longtime policy victory for agriculturalists, the lower Mississippi River dredging announcement came at an opportune time for soybean farmers. Given 60% of Iowa's soybeans leave the state via this important river, a more efficient and logistically improved infrastructure means better opportunities for farmers and their rural communities!  

Wondering how this might impact the environment?
In order for the project to have been initially considered, an environmental impact study was conducted.  In the final report issued by the Army Corps of Engineers, it was determined that no adverse environmental concerns were identified.  Because of this favorable conclusion, the project was allowed to proceed and be further considered. 

  • Maintenance dredging along this stretch of the lower Mississippi River continuously occurs given how sediment build up has been a feature of the river for well over a hundred years. This project will simply expand on the routine maintenance dredging by deepening the river an extra five feet. 
  • Most of the lower Mississippi River is naturally deeper than 50 ft. For example, the Mississippi River near the French Quarter in New Orleans is 200 ft. deep. There are just a few portions of the river that are susceptible for sediment build up, which necessitates dredging. 
  • Both the maintenance dredging and the deepening will continue to enhance the project referred to as “the largest wetland reclamation project on the planet.” Instead of much of the river sediment falling off the continental shelf, the dredging along the lower Mississippi River allows for sediment to be deposited along the fragile shoreline of southern Louisiana. A significant amount of new acreage has been established in this area due to dredging activity. Wildlife habitat has been reclaimed. Shoreline resilience has been enhanced. 

4R Webinar Series

There's no better way to get the latest information about 4R (the right source, right rate, right time and right place) than right in your home. This year's 4R field day is going virtual so there's no better time to dive in to the latest in nutrient stewardship!

On-Farm Innovation in Story County  

A little can certainly go a long way, and in Pat Murken's case, the less he spends on equipment and inputs, the better! This farmer goes the extra mile to make decades-old equipment last and assist him on his operation. Whether its seeding his cover crops or spending less on herbicides, Murken takes innovation to a whole new level. 

Through the Lens: Biodiesel fuels post-derecho assistance in Cedar Rapids

What does a soybean have in common with the Iowa Hawkeyes? Both played an integral part in helping Iowans impacted from August's devastating derecho. Soy-based biodiesel fueled the Hawkeyes' team motorcade to bring important resources to Cedar Rapids.