Does a pre-emergence application of Extract PBA increase soybean yields, and does it provide a return on investment?
In recent on-farm, replicated research conducted by Ohio State University (OSU) Extension, Extract PBA checked off both boxes, showing a positive yield benefit and a positive net return to the grower.
John Barker, OSU's County Extension Educator in Knox County, worked with grower Dave Mitchem of Mitchem Farms on the trial, which was designed to test the effects of adding a pre-emergence sulfur application to a soybean production program. Extract PBA, which has an analysis of 6-0-0-13S, was selected as the sulfur treatment.
In a video posted by OSU Extension about the trial, both Dave and John emphasize the need for profitability when using any product or practice.
"It has to have a return on investment over the labor and management costs it takes to put it in there," says Dave.
The study was designed as a randomized complete block study and was performed on two plots (4 replications each) located near Centerburg, Ohio. The Extract PBA treatment was applied pre-emergence at a rate of 1 gallon per acre and compared to the check (no treatment). The previous crop was corn.
Growing conditions were favorable for soybeans in their part of the country in 2020, with adequate rainfall throughout the season and little to no stress on the plants.
Throughout the growing season, John and Dave observed that the treated areas were slightly greener than the untreated areas. At harvest, the average yield in the first plot was 71.23 bu/a with Extract PBA treatment, compared to 66.99 bu/a (no treatment), a yield increase of +4.24 bu/a. In the second plot, the average yield was 80.62 bu/a with Extract PBA treatment, compared to 75.91 bu/a (no treatment), a yield increase of +4.71 bu/a.
Yield data taken from OSU Extension video., "Knox County On-Farm Research 2020"
Importantly, the calculated return on investment with Extract PBA as a sulfur treatment was also favorable in this trial.
“The bottom line is so important to these guys. They’ve got to be able to show a profit and be able to make money to be back in the game again next year,” says John. “We showed a positive net return to sulfur on both of our plots.”
Assuming soybeans at $13.50/bu, the average net return with Extract PBA in this trial would be $48.41/acre.*
You can hear more trial details directly from John and Dave in the video.
To learn more about Extract PBA, download the Extract PBA booklet.
*ROI calculation does not include application costs.