Learn from an outside opinion how you can boost your yields—it might not be as hard as you think. Farmers joined together in a panel discussion at the 2017 Commodity Classic to provide tips for moving the bar on yield.
1. Be willing to try something new.
Zack Rendel, corn, soybean, grain sorghum and wheat farmer in Miami, Okla., says giving new product and practices a chance helps him uncover new opportunities. Even though he understands not every trial will be successful, the ones that are could mean big yield gains.
“I use on-farm testing because you don’t know what works on your farm until you try it,” Rendel says. “It shows me new tools for the toolbox.”
2. Get input timing right the first time.
Corn, soybeans, rice, grain sorghum and wheat farmer, Perry Galloway says input timing and placement is critical to his success on his Gregory, Ark., farm. Getting seed planted, insecticide and fungicide applied, and fertilizer placed on the crops when they need most it are among his highest priorities.
“In my area I’m most concerned about V4-V5, that’s when we set kernel potential,” he says, which is when he performs disease testing so he is ready to take action.
3. Plant crops as early as possible.
On his Peru, Ill., corn and soybean farm, Dan Arkels pushes the limit on planting to take advantage of the full growing season. For example, he plants 3.8 maturity soybeans to allow the plant to bloom as soon as possible.
“Get that plant blooming around the summer solstice,” Arkels says. “I liked what I say planting early, though I wouldn’t push it much past mid-April in my area.”
4. Avoid complacency – there’s always room for improvement.
Don’t settle for the status quo, says Casey Hook, corn, rice, soybean and cotton farmer of Lake City, Ark. He scouts and checks for issues in the field and doesn’t assume all is well. Instead, he make sure and fixes issues as they arise.
“If I’ve got to take a plane through [for fungicide or insecticide in-season], that’s what I’ve got to do,” Hook says. “It costs me more money not to apply at the right time.”