For Kip Cullers, entering yield championships is far more than a hobby. Cullers, who holds the soybean yield world record and is a past overall champion in the National Corn Grower Association's yield contest, uses the contests to refine his production practices.
The practices he develops to win yield championships help Cullers get the most out of his production acres. And he's generous about sharing these practices with other growers. In an article in No-Till Farmer magazine, Cullers said: "I've learned there are three basic, cost-effective steps to follow that will make you money." Here are the three tips.
1) "Pick the best plant genetics you can get for your area." Cullers conducts his own on-farm variety trials and reviews "as many yield test reports as I can that apply to southwestern Missouri," the region in which he farms. Then he carefully matches the variety to the specifics of his fields. And, in general, he seeks out the varieties that produce the biggest seeds. "Big soybean seed produces bigger beans in the field."
2) "Get serious about providing crop protection." Cullers walks every field everyday. "Making a crop decision from the seat of your pickup can be a huge mistake," he says. He strongly advocates for the use of Headline® fungicide on both corn and soybeans in the No-Till Farmer article. He chose Headline because it was the most-researched fungicide available and continues to use it for its broad-spectrum disease control and Plant Health benefits.
3) "Kill weeds early – when they're only a quarter-inch tall – and keep them from robbing nutrients and sunlight all season." In his case, that can mean making two applications of glyphosate. But he doesn't hesitate: "It's the cheapest protection you can buy."
Perhaps what's more impressive than the sheer volume of grain that Cullers coaxes from his fields is the consistency with which he does it. He's focused on year-over-year improvements that help him get the most out of every acre. And whether it's production acres or championship trials, Headline is part of how Cullers innovates for success.
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