By Matt Reese
Dale Minyo and I got a bird’s eye harvest view of Louie Rehm’s bin busting soybean field in Wayne County via a helicopter ride just outside of Orrville.
I will confess that I did have some initial reservations about riding in the doorless circa 1970s helicopter used for sightseeing and aerial crop pesticide application. But, once in the air — despite the fact that only a ragged seatbelt separated me from a high speed plummet to Wayne County — I could not help but dangle myself out the side with my camera to capture some beautiful shots.
Ultimately, the helicopter was really fun, but only a periphery distraction from the story of the day — incredible soybean yields. Boosted by a new drainage system that held water in the tile lines throughout the dry summer, the combine’s yield monitor in the field held pretty tightly to 100 bushels through most of the field planted with Northrup King soybeans. There were a few low spots in the 30s and 40s, but the yield peaked at a whopping 156 bushels per acre. A two-acre weighed and certified yield check in the middle of the field averaged 118 bushels per acre. A neighboring field, without the benefit of the water holding drainage system, averaged 80 bushels.
“The rest of our beans are running in the high 40s or low 50s — nothing like this field,” Rehm said. “This spring we tiled the field and we decided we wanted to install the blocks to hold back the water. It really helped this year. Even in the drought this summer, the beans never wilted once because of the water they had in the soil where we blocked the tile. It was incredible. They just kept growing and growing. They held the water all summer. We dug a hole down one day and we had moisture 14 inches down. We had very minimal rain like everyone else and in these bottoms that moisture really paid off this summer. We planted these beans May 10 and from then on, they just kept growing.”
The 30-acre field is tiled every 20 feet, with some of those lines tying into natural springs on the farm.
“There were old springs that kept the water up all summer for the soybeans. With this system you can hold the water back or let it go. The gates can be adjusted every six inches and you can set the level of water you want,” Rehm said. “You put the gates down to hold the water and pull them up to let it go. When you have yields like this, it pays big time.”