Predicting Soybean Input Profitability

March 30, 2021


  • Soybean producers have many decisions to make regarding their inputs and agronomic system. However, benefits from different inputs are not always mutually exclusive.

  • The objective of this trial is to determine the effect of high-input management systems and their individual components on soybean yield.

  • Bayesian economic analysis is used to predict break-even probabilities of these high input soybean systems.


Table image

  • Variety Type:
    • Non-Defensive: These products had lower disease tolerance ratings for disease(s) of concern in the trial location.
    • Defensive: Products identified as “Defensive” were selected for their relatively high disease tolerance ratings for disease(s) of concern in the trial location.

  • Small plot dimensions approximately 10x30 ft.
    • Three replications per location, and means were separated using Fisher’s LSD (α = 0.10)
    • 31 internal sites in 2021 in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Kansas, Tennessee, Arkansas, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
  • Disease pressure, in general, was overall very low at the 31 U.S. locations in 2020.
    • On a 1-9 disease intensity scale (with a value of 1 signifying no disease) the overall average from all plots were:
      • Sudden Death Syndrome = 1.1
      • White Mold = 1.0
      • Frogeye Leaf Spot = 1.1


Figure 1. Average soybean yield from high and low input soybean systems.

Table 1. Break-even probabilities for input systems compared to base treatment (Treatment 6) at multiple yield levels and soybean sale prices.*

Side-by-side comparison of High-Input System image.
Figure 2. Side-by-side comparison of High-Input System. Left - Insecticide Only Right - Fungicide plus Insecticide


  • In these trials, the high input system (Treatment 1) had a greater average yield compared to the low input system (Treatment 6) of 4.1 bu/acre.
    • Additionally, all the high input systems (Treatments 1 through 5) out yielded the base low input system (Treatment 6).
  • Adding foliar fungicide (Treatment 7) increased average yield compared to low input system (Treatment 6).
  • Input systems in this analysis generally have a high probability of breaking even with the soybean price and yield levels displayed in Table 1 except for the “Low + ILeVO® seed treatment” system (Treatment 9).
  • More site-years are desired for this study to help make region-specific recommendations with a more robust data set. This trial will be conducted again in 2021.