Georgia Soybean Producer New Record Holder

Clint Thompson Georgia

Submitted photo/Shows Alex Harrell in a soybean field.

By Clint Thompson

It not uncommon for a Georgia soybean producer to hold the record for most bushels per acre. What is different about Alex Harrell is his record year eclipsed 200 bushels for the first time.

Harrell, located in Smithville, Georgia, produced 206.7 bushels per acre last year, eclipsing the previous record of 191 bushels, set in 2019 by Randy Dowdy.

“We had a lot to go right, no doubt. Right after planting we had a big rain event that set us back some, and then in June we got about 15 inches of rain in 10 days. Other than that, we had warm days,” Harrell said. “We had cool nights during pollination and warm days during the day. We run temperature monitors in the canopy to monitor canopy temperatures, and just keeping track of those, the pollination period was just perfect.”

Harrell is located in Southwest Georgia, known more for its cotton and peanut production. Less than 1,000 acres of soybeans are produced in his county with an average yield of 38 bushels per acre. Harrell’s record-setting year was more than five times that total.

He added that the increased bushels were due more to the size of the soybeans increasing.

“We just had bigger beans. I think on average, soybeans have about 2,800 beans per pound, and we averaged 1,640,” Harrell said. “That was a combination of long grain field days and late season management. We kept our ‘K’ levels up. All of our nutrient levels stayed balanced and where we wanted them in our threshold all the way to the end. That made a big difference.”

Contest Details

In order to enter the contest, Georgia requires growers to have 1.25 acres to be harvested out of a field that is at least 10 acres. Harrell harvested twice that amount in a 60-acre pivot field.

Harrell also insisted this high production could not be replicated on a larger scale.

“It was by far the most profitable acre I’ve ever had farming period. To do it on a large scale, the labor and time it would take to do that and just the management of it, it’s so precise on balancing the ratios of those nutrients and keeping everything, it just has to be nearly perfect,” Harrell said. “It would be hard to do that on large acreage.”