MU plant sciences professor says farmers can be more efficient

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COLUMBIA - One MU plant science professor says crop rotation of soybeans and corn can increase yields.

However, he said many farmers in Missouri aren't doing that.

"When they make the decision on what to plant, they need to understand that if they plant soybean after soybean, they're going to lower their yield potential," Bill Wiebold said.

Wiebold presented his research from over 20 years on rotation and tillage at the MU Crop Management Conference Dec. 15.

Wiebold found soybean yields drop by nine percent when they are not rotated with corn. He said a simple change like rotating crops each year can have a big effect.

"That's nine percent yield without doing very much of anything," Wiebold said.

In Missouri, farmers plant three million acres of corn and about five and a half million acres of soybeans each year. Wiebold said this is the highest ratio of soybean to corn meaning many farmers are not rotating crops each year.

He said if farmers rotate crops and increase yields, everyone benefits.

"What we want are farmers that are doing well, making money, making profit, buying things in their local community and that really helps the economy," Wiebold said.

Weibold also said higher yields could result in lower cost for soybeans and corn for consumers, which he thinks is a positive for crop rotation.