By Jeff Shaner
Regional Product Manager (East); Soybean & Alfalfa Lead
Two Production Considerations You Can Begin Right Now That Will Separate You From the Pack
Every farmer I speak with is looking for a twist that will increase yield potential on their farm. And nearly all of them want it to be something easy. Easy to perform, easy to slide in alongside what they are already doing, easy to make just a small, little tweak that changes results in a big way. But here’s the thing: Blazing a new trail isn’t easy. If it were, every farmer would be hauling in major yield increases year over year. The types of increases I’m talking about are going to take some work. Here is a quick hit on two not-so-easy fronts you could choose to explore in your search for bigger returns in your cropping operation.
Pulling An All-Nighter
Many college students have pulled an all-nighter at least once in their educational career. Whether it’s studying for finals or finishing a huge project, you push hard to get the task done, no matter the cost, and then catch up on sleep later. Corn yield record setter Russell Hedrick told me he often makes spray applications in the middle of the night. Why? Because that is when plants are relaxed and most receptive to doing business. Stomata are open, respiration is taking place. Independent research from Corteva Agriscience, AgVenture’s parent company, in a somewhat-related realm seems to indicate he is right. The data isn’t available just yet, but I will be glad to share that when it is. When I speak to farmer groups about this topic of working in the middle of the night to achieve more yield, they generally chuckle with an “I’m not doing that” indication. The dedication to do what’s best for your crop, no matter the cost, is what separates the trailblazers from the average farmers.
Raising the Ceiling From the Ground (Literally) Up
Many operators are now using prescriptive application methods to get the most return from their best acres. The ceilings in my house are generally 8
feet above the floor.
Keeping that as a constant, one way to raise the ceiling is to raise the floor. AgVenture founder Mike Davis runs a solid farm operation of his own. He told me he is on a quest to make his least productive acres more able to contribute to his rising APH. In the flatlands around Kentland, Indiana, this initially meant adding more tile to traditionally wet chunks of ground. Matching corn hybrids and soybean products with the terrain and logistics is key
One imperative here: you need to know details about your product selections. AgVenture Yield Specialists can help you here.
In a ten-year span, Russell Hedrick raised the organic matter of his typical farmland by 480%. He gets better water retention to reduce the impact of drought and improved season-long nutrient flow from the soil colloid into the plant. An aggressive cover-crop implementation is one of his main weapons, and many operators are finding out that careful contemplation and accurate timing are needed to make these programs successful. Yet this has contributed to elevating the skillset of all acres, especially his least productive ones. As goes the floor, so goes the ceiling.
Perhaps you’ve heard a similar anecdote when talking with your AgVenture Product Manager or AYS. We often encourage farmers to “Never give up on your crop.” Practices like those I have illustrated can and likely will lead to higher yields and increased profitability in the long run. That’s why we put so much value into our propriety Maximum Profit System™ – the best practices we have developed will take time, effort and even a little extra money out of your pocket in the short term. But if you’re looking for long term results similar to what guys like Russell and Mike are achieving on their operations, the Maximum Profit System is worth learning and implementing on your own operation. I love hearing AgVenture customers talk about having a great crop year with our products. I offer these ideas for those of you looking for launch pads to ever better returns.
Find your local AgVenture Yield Specialist at AgVenture.com/Find.