Ultimate Soybean Challenge 2016

The Quest to Maximize Soybean Yield and Profitability in Manitoba!



Three teams have been tasked with selecting their own unique combination of soybean management practices and crop inputs in the quest to be crowned the winner of the Ultimate Soybean Challenge (USC)! Winners will be determined in two categories: yield and profit. The goal is for each team to take on a unique strategy for crop management and inputs, representing the different approaches that farmers may take in crop production.


At the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) site in Portage la Prairie, side-by-side replicated field trials were seeded on May 20. Seeding date, speed, soil characteristics and harvest dates will be the same across treatments. All other management practices will be determined by each team. Updates on crop progress and management will be provided throughout the growing season. Stay tuned to @MBPulseGrowers on Twitter for updates.


The USC challenge is on a 15-acre parcel seeded into spring tilled millet residue comprised of an imperfectly drained clay loam soil. Field history includes soybean. Soil pH is 8 with relatively high soil organic matter, low soluble salts and high fertility (84 lbs/ac N, 22 ppm P, 289 ppm K).

Meet the Teams and their Strategies

TEAM A: Kristen Podolsky, MPSG Production Specialist along with Greg Bartley (On-Farm Technician) aim to follow best management practices, choosing practices and inputs that are most likely to maximize net return.

TEAM B: Dennis Lange, Manitoba Agriculture Industry Development Specialist along with Terry Buss are trying to maximize yield and return by reducing costs of big ticket items (seed) but spending more on small costs items.

TEAM C: Curtis Cavers, CMCDC Agronomist along with soil advisor John Heard is choosing novel practices to ensure differences in production are observed and to alleviate concerns of a “home field advantage.”

  Team A - Kristen Team B - Dennis Team C - Curtis
Variety SelectedAkras R2S007-Y4Dekalb 23-60
Seed TreatmentNoneCruiserMaxx Vibrance +
Heads Up Plant Protectant
Evergol Energy
Seeding EquipmentAir Seeder 9" SpacingPlanter 30" SpacingPlanter 15" Spacing
Seeding Depth1 inch2 inch2 inch
Seeding Rate (seeds/ac)190,000150,000150,000
Plant Population (plants/ac)June 2: 109,000
June 10: 184,000
June 20: 161,000
June 27: 170,000
June 2: 61,000
June 10: 102,000
June 20: 111,000
June 27: 111,000
June 20: 124,000
June 27: 128,000
Weed Control1 Pass Glyphosate (June 9)3 Passes Glyphosate1 Pass Glyphosate (June 9)
Fungicide ProductNoneYes (applied July 17)None
Tissue TestingNoneNoneYes
Foliar NutrientsNoneYesDepending on tissue test
Chlorophyll Content (SPAD readings)Average: 23.3Average: 25.07Average: 29.8


May 24, 2017
May 24, 2017

All Ultimate Soybean Challenge plots were seeded on May 24, 2017! Soybeans were seeded on the shallow side with the expectation of rain immediately after seeding. Seeding conditions were good despite the windy weather.