Those who sign up to the Secure Optimal Yield (SOY) Fields Trials Program will have test acres treated with BASF herbicide and an application of Headline fungicide. These two treatments are in addition to the normal post application of the herbicide glyphosate. It comes at a time when the United States Agriculture Department (USDA) reported a low harvest for the bean, which is used in a variety of products and applications. USDA said 2007's harvest across the country totalled 2.59 billion bushels, 19 percent below the record high production of 2006. Some of the big soybean companies sees US soybeans as more reliable than those sourced from other parts of the world. For instance, Solbar said last year it had switched to US soybeans after a problem with materials sourced from Brazil. Last year's trial program using the extra level of herbicide treatment saw an average yield increase of 6.8 bushels per acre. ASA said this year growers taking part could reap back an extra $81 more per acre than if they did not take part. Some 100 growers were involved in the trial. The program helps foster higher yields per acre, helping soybean growers surpass the 100 bushels and acre mark which had been thought to be the highest. This was smashed in the 2007 program by an ASA member who reached a yield of 154.74 bushels an acre. Kip Cullers, who holds the record, said: "The two most important things you can do to maximize yield is pay attention to plant genetics and be proactive about protecting your crop from disease. "A healthy plant is a happy plant," he added. Cullers cited the use of Headline fungicide as helping his success. ASA members have until February 15 to sign up for the trial. Last week the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NAAS) crop production figures said the 2007 harvest for soybean was down. It said yields for soybean were down from last year across most of the eastern and northern Corn Belt, most of the Atlantic Coast states, and Tennessee. The biggest declines from last year occurred in Kentucky and Tennessee. However, 2006 was deemed as USDA as a record high production. Among their many uses, soybeans can be made into vegetable oil. Earlier this month ASA said it will focus part of its marketing on pointing out what the group does and why it is different to the soybean checkoff program. This came after a survey revealed many growers mistakenly believed the organisation is funded by the program, a fund to promote research on soybean. In fact, ASA is the collective voice of 27,000 soybean producers and is funded by membership dues.