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We’ve all walked soybean fields and observed how sometimes the top cluster of pods is finished nicely and sometimes they aren’t. Many use the term “Florida pods” to describe these, since the yield from them represent the extra profit that can take the family on a trip to Florida.
I grew soybeans on my own farm this year, and was pleased how they performed, but also noticed a good finish on the top pod clusters. Part of this is due to the extra nutritional boost they received at early flowering time from ALPINE K20S and ALPINE MicroBolt B.
My curiosity got the best of me, so I gathered up 8 plants and did a small-scale experiment to determine just how much of the total yield these top pods contribute. I hand shelled them and found that the total weight was 0.24 lbs, with the top clusters contributing 0.03 lbs to that total weight. This represents 12.5% of the total yield. On a 45 bu/ac crop this comes to 5.6 bu/ac. In my mind this shows the big difference these pods can make in turning an average crop into a decent one. At current prices, this extra yield generates another $66/acre revenue, which is a handsome return on the extra crop nutrition.
Every grower needs to push the envelope for higher yields and squeeze all they can from the genetic potential in that bag of seed. Setting the soybean plant up to finish the top cluster of flowers is just one more way to move towards this goal.