Smithville, Georgia, farmer Alex Harrell crushed the world soybean record this month, harvesting over 206.7 bushels per acre using Dekalb seeds. His achievement improves the previous mark of 190.2 Bu/A, which was set in 2019 by fellow Georgian Randy Dowdy.
Dekalb praised the grower on social media, highlighting his use of the Asgrow AG48X9 brand, a late maturity group IV Roundup Ready 2 Xtend SR stacked soybean. In addition to beans, the 33-year-old Harrell grows corn, wheat, and watermelons on about 3,000 acres in Lee County.
The soybean record officially became his on Aug. 23.
“A huge CONGRATULATIONS to #Asgrow farmer Alex Harrell for making a world soybean record of 206.7 Bu/A. Way to farm!,” Dekalb said in a Facebook post.
With a goal of raising 200 bushels per acre, Harrell was looking to push his field’s potential. And with the help of his crop consultant, Caleb Traugh, he did that and more. They formulated the perfect plan and executed it to perfection, making only a few alterations when tissue samples revealed specific nutrient demands.
Harrell called it a testament to the Total Acre grower camps led by Randy Dowdy and Virginia producer David Hula and their pay-it-forward approach to crop production strategies.
“Randy Dowdy truly set the bar and gave me something to chase,” said Harrell. “He made me realize that it was possible to achieve record yields here in Georgia.”
Harrell chose a 10-acre block within a 60-acre sandy loam field equipped with pivot irrigation for the contest entry. After grid soil sampling last fall, lime was applied at a variable rate, and the field was seeded to a winter cover crop mix of oats, rye, triticale and daikon radish. A total of 85,000 seeds were planted in 30-inch rows back in April.
The Harrell farm received a packing rain shortly after planting, resulting in a final stand of 77,000. Mother Nature threw another setback at the crop with a 10-day flooding rain in early June. From there, the crop saw ideal weather the rest of the way.
In an interview with The Progressive Farmer, Richard Roth with University of Georgia Extension Grains, said, “The average soybean yield in Georgia is about 45 Bu/A, so what Alex has done has shown us what the genetic potential of soybeans in this environment can be. He’s shown us some techniques that we can use to improve yields.”
Roth is a soybean agronomist responsible for administering the state’s soybean yield contest.
Harrell told Successful Farming that he figured he had 175 bushel beans.
“It all came down to test weight. We had heavy beans from late season management,” Harrell said. “The beans were just massive.”
The official record is now 206.7997 Bu/A.