Dr. Heatherly is an experienced, respected, and recognized agronomist with over 35 years of agronomic research and outreach experience.His research career centered on soybean production and management systems with major emphasis on irrigation scheduling and management, development and use of limited tillage concepts, determining cropping systems that will optimize profitability of production in the southeastern U.S., development and refinement of the Early Soybean Production System for the midsouthern U.S., weed management in conventional and limited tillage systems, and determining profitability of varied cropping systems that include soybean as a component. He initiated the research for, and along with co-workers, developed the widely used stale seedbed concept of production for soybean and other crops grown on the millions of acres of alluvial clay soils in the lower Mississippi River Valley.He was instrumental in the development and refinement of the Early Season Production System for southern soybean.This approach is based on early planting systems that utilize early-maturing soybean varieties for drought avoidance.Results from his many years of research are utilized as an authoritative guide by producers in the entire southern region of the US.
During his career, he authored/coauthored 120+ publications and 45 abstracts in the following areas: Soybean production and management; Irrigation of row crops; Cropping systems; Stale seedbed production concept and economics; Economics (budget generation) of cropping systems; Economics of soybean irrigation; Early Soybean Production System (ESPS); Soybean weed management and economics; Economics of cropping and tillage systems.
His technology transfer activities include 75+ invited presentations at industry meetings, university seminars, research conferences, and radio and television farm programs to present research findings inthe following areas: Stale Seedbed Planting System, Irrigation Management, Early Soybean Production System, General Soybean Production and Management, Midsouthern US Soybean Production.
His research and its findings were the focal point in over 130 known articles in popular press publications such as Southeast, Southwest, and Delta Farm Press; Miss. Agric. and For. Expt. Sta. Research Highlights; Progressive Farmer; Soybean Digest; Successful Farming in the South; Ag. Consultant; Cotton Farming; Mid-South Farmer; and Mississippi Farmer.
Dr. Heatherly retired from USDA-ARS in October 2004. He is now an agronomic adviser and freelance writer.
Writing topics cover soybean and corn management practices that can be used by midsouth producers to improve yields and profits.
A special writing niche is condensing results from research findings published in refereed journal articles into summaries that can be used by producers to enhance their production and management skills. The information contained in these sources is considered the most authoritative and accurate, and resulting summaries provide the most current knowledge about the indicated subject.
Another source of information that is used for article development is extension and industry websites. Information from these disparate sources is sometimes conflicting, and developed articles present a consensus summary of the pertinent information. Information from these sources is interpreted and integrated into summaries that have application throughout the midsouth region. Care is taken to ensure that these sources of information are up-to-date, verified, and accurate before they are used as references. When necessary, the author or developer of the source material is contacted and queried about discrepancies, omissions, and vaguenesses that may lead to questionable interpretations of the information. Website information used for article development meets the criteria set forth in the article published in early 2006.
A compilation of published articles appears in the Articles page of this website.