The best place to start is the beginning, and as Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie explains in Episode 1 of "Corn College TV," Season 2, the baseline for increasing yields is the Systems Approach.
"It’s easy to say, easy to talk about, but the Systems Approach is actually pretty complicated to implement," he says. "It is a series that grows upon itself."
That year-to-year improvement will help farmers get the most out of every acre and do it consistently every year.
"When we talk about the Systems Approach pyramid, the starting block is soil fertility. Look at soil structure, soil texture, pH, nutrient availability, etc.," Ferrie says.
From there, farmers need to factor in the establishment of a good rooting environment, water availability, hybrid selection, operation at planting day, pest management, disease management and how to follow through the season.
"All of this builds on top of each other. And you’ll need to break all the factors out into pieces to manage them and have it all come together," Ferrie says. "The better you do implementing the system and working with each piece, the easier it will be when you get into tough situations and tough decisions."
For example, Ferrie says, when you are following your nitrogen program and it gets derailed by weather, the Systems Approach can help you manage the situation better.
Ferrie also encourages farmers to delegate tasks with the Systems Approach.
"It’s not always just on your shoulders," he says. "Farmers need to delegate and find someone who can do things better and more quickly than they can -- focus on management and seeing that tasks are done in a timely manner."
Learn more in Episode 1 of "Corn College TV," Season 2: