Farmers shared some of the topics they found useful at Corn College this summer and how they plan to use the information they gained.
Every year Farm Journal agronomists Ken Ferrie and Missy Bauer, in coordination with the staff at Farm Journal Media, plan a variety of practical, farm- and field-plot tested topics to address for farmers during Corn College. Each year, the topics that are addressed are based, first and foremost, on what farmers have told us they want to learn about and, secondly, what subjects are currently trending in the industry. This year has been no exception to that rule, with sessions ranging from steps to creating management zones and conducting in-field crop diagnostics to determining how and when to use an adjuvant and evaluating cover crops. Here are a few comments from some of this year’s Corn College participants on what they found to be particularly useful.
Alan Johnston, Galva, IL
The soil management and testing topic was interesting because there’s a push to use grids, and I have a bit of a challenge believing that can be extremely accurate. I believe evaluating soil types within management zones is better and you can then do grids within those, if you need to. We have been working with a consultant and he thinks the same way. As technologies have changed and with seed companies getting involved now in the process, there is some benefit I think to variable rate seeding and changing your corn varieties to match those areas where your soil changes. We farm variable soils quite a bit so this topic was helpful. I attend Corn College every year and always pick up something useful here.
Kyle Holmberg, Field Agronomist, DuPont Pioneer, Nashville, TN
I think the light interception topic is a big deal—making sure your hybrids use light effectively. Our soils in the south are a bit different than these here in Illinois, but the topic’s still relevant. Ken and Missy both talked about light absorption and the importance of achieving that 97% range. That’s something we can definitely look at and can take back home and tell the grower. We’ll be looking between the rows and seeing what kind of light penetration we’re getting to the ground and how that impacts yield at the end of the season. That’s been my biggest take-away so far this morning.
Jon and Brandon Gingerich, Parnell, IA
We learned about leaf structure types--the importance of intercepting the most light possible and how leaf structure relates to that, whether you’re using hybrids that are flex, semi-flex or determinate.
Steve Lach, Vandalia, IL
Cover crops are pretty controversial and have been the big topic for me here—determining whether it pays to use them or not. I’m looking to see how people are achieving their goals with cover crops, and hearing what others have done has been really helpful. I was at Soybean College a couple of days ago and wanted to come back for this event, too. If you raise corn and beans, you need to be here.