If you attended our Grower Focus event on February 7, you heard Randy Dowdy, National Corn and Soybean Yield Record Setter visit about the importance of timing and attention to detail.
We wanted to emphasize a few of the key points that Randy shared during his presentation.
FERTILITY: It is important to know the capabilities of your soil and supply proper amounts of all nutrients for your set yield goal. Placement of nutrients is very important. This all seems very rudimentary, but are you gathering all the information you need to properly fertilize your crop? Are you investing time and money into properly applying nutrients in the right place at the right time?
SEED PLACEMENT: Randy touts that if you want to grow ‘free’ bushels of grain, focus on placing seed in the proper place at the proper soil temperature, with proper moisture. Getting all the plants up at the same time will allow your corn crop to develop an ear on the same node on every plant. This leads to consistent ear size, more overall kernels, and higher yields. It is important that every row unit is planting properly. Just having one row unit planting differently than another reduces your ‘free’ bushels.
You get one chance to build a good foundation, and that is with your planting operation. Take the time to do it right.
TRUST, BUT VERIFY: Do you really know what inputs are giving you a return on investment in your operation? Testing products on your farm is very important. This can be accomplished simply by running AB tests (on/off). Results can be picked up in imagery or yield monitors quite easily. We all have the capability to experiment to some extent on a small number of acres in our operation. It just takes a time commitment on our part to accomplish this. One year of data is usually not enough to make solid conclusions, so keep at it!
BE PROACTIVE: Randy stated numerous times that it is tough to save yourself into prosperity. He didn’t promote wasting money on inputs either – that’s where ‘trust, but verify’ comes in. Yes, weather and other outside forces add risk to your operation. Randy encourages growers to purchase Revenue Assurance Insurance, so you reduce the aversion of avoiding necessary inputs that will give you a return on your investment. If you know that placing starter fertilizer on both sides of the seed makes more bushels, investing in an upgraded feature on your planter is worth your time. If you know your planter performs better at 4 mph vs 5 mph, regardless of how bad you need to finish, it is worth your time to watch your speed. I’m sure you can think of many more examples.
This is just a small sample of some of the points people heard at our Grower Focus event. We will try to share more points like this throughout the year. We encourage you to focus on timing and attention to detail as we head into this growing season.