Agriculture

Perform a crop autopsy to discover the most crop thieves – AgFax

Three farmers from across the US identified the most significant runoff in their ranks. (Photo: Matthews Family Farms, Galloway Family, John Borge)

Many of today’s corn and soybean hybrids have tens of bushels of untapped yield potential. That is until the seed hits the ground. Why is there such a wide gap between yield potential and harvest results? Three farmers from across the US identified the most significant runoff in their ranks.

PROTECT FROM DISEASE

Kevin Matthews farms in the Yadkin River Valley, northwest of the geographic center of North Carolina. With several corn yield records under his belt, Matthews grows 6,000 acres of field crops.

When water isn’t a problem, its biggest crop bandit is plant disease, usually gray leaf spot or northern leaf blight.

Matthews responds by intensive use of fungicides. “We have 6,000 no-till acres, which means 28,000 acres with sprayers because we do four to five trips a year, not counting when we fall behind and need extra help.”

TAKE EVERY DROP

Chris Wahlberg farms dryland in Richland County, North Carolina, on flat plots separated by buffer strips. He grows alfalfa, corn, seed millet, oats, rye, field peas, soybeans and sunflowers, as well as significant cattle production.

Most of its farmland is mostly sandy (organic matter content ranging from a low of 0.8% to a high of 3%), and its acreage borders what were essentially the beaches of ancient Lake Agassiz.

Lack of water is the #1 factor limiting Walberg yields. “We use regenerative farming practices — no-till, diverse cover crops and three to five different crops in rotation — to increase water filtration and increase the soil’s water-holding capacity.

“These practices also help during excess moisture by reducing runoff,” he concludes, “which reduces flooding in low-lying areas, and the use of green covers makes use of excess moisture in the spring.”

MAKE IT RAIN

Perry Galloway grows corn, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans and wheat in gently rolling fields in Gregory, Arkansas, about 80 miles northeast of Little Rock.

Drought or moisture deficits consistently produce spikes on the light sandy soils of his corn acres.

“Irrigation is my war measure,” he says. “I’m lucky that groundwater is readily available. I approach everything with high management. I will do everything in my power for the latest and greatest technology, but it has to produce high yields.”

Countywide, Woodruff Galloway is 90% irrigated with 50 pivots.

https://www.agfax.com/2022/11/25/perform-a-crop-autopsy-to-identify-your-top-yield-robbers/ Perform a crop autopsy to discover the most crop thieves – AgFax

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