Carl Landewee shows a four-bean soybean pod at Charlie Hinkebein's farm near Chaffee.
Farmers are looking through their soybean fields for rare five bean pods that could bring them big bucks and free seeds.
Charlie Hinkebein and representatives from seed company Asgrow searched Wednesday morning for five bean pods at Hinkebein's farm near Chaffee as part of Asgrow's Five-Bean Pod Challenge.
The first 1,000 farmers to find a five-bean pod in their field planted with Asgrow's Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield brand seeds will receive five free bags of soybeans for the 2011 planting season, according to Lisa Flynn The first grower in each state to find five, five-bean pods will win 50 bags.(http://fivebeanpod.com/)
A farmer in Lawrenceville, Ill., recently found the first one of this growing season, according to Asgrow.
Hinkebein, who has been farming for 40 years, said he'll keep scouting through the fall for a five-bean pod on his Asgrow soybeans.
"We find a lot of four-bean pods," said Hinkebein. "Almost everything is three's or fours. It used to be you'd only see twos or threes."
Hinkebein averages about 90 bushels per acre from his soybean crop each year, considerable higher that the USDA's average of about 40 bushels per acre.
Genetic technology in addition to treating seeds with fertilizer and insecticides is resulting in more bushels per acre, he said.
It also takes a little TLC, he added.
"You've got to treat your plants like they're family," Hinkebein said. With a combination of heat and little rain, this year has been a trying one, he said. In a normal summer, he might irrigate his corn crop six times, but this year he's already watered his fields 13 times.
He uses some unusual methods to keep his plants healthy, including mixing sugar into the chemicals sprayed from crop dusting planes.
Sugar helps the chemicals to stick to the plant's leaves.
He also gets up at 3 a.m. to check his fields for bugs and worms, saying that's the best time to spot them.