The Southern Perspective

February 8, 2013 07:06 PM
The Southern Perspective

Geography doesn’t change the basics for higher yields

As more acres of corn spread south, Farm Journal continues to receive inquiries to host a Corn College event in the region. In response, Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie traveled south for the third year in early January.

"Before 2000, all of our acres went to cotton," says Robbie Howard, a Louisiana farmer who attended the meeting in Vicksburg, Miss. Now, Howard and his son farm 2,900 acres in a corn, soybean and wheat rotation, with zero cotton acres.

No matter where you grow corn, Ferrie says it’s the fundamentals that will increase yields. He walked the group of 125 farmers through corn development, how to evaluate a growing crop and the keys to nitrogen and lime management—all part of the Systems Approach.

"I wanted to give them a good foundation of knowledge on which to base their decision making. That’s always important if you are trying to ramp up your yields," Ferrie says.

Building on Ferrie’s fundamental lessons, Mississippi State University researcher and Extension specialist Erick Larson discussed his findings on water management, residue management and planter performance.

He also presented research data on a three-year row spacing study conducted at Mississippi State University.

Acreage shifts. Larson said that in the 18 years he has lived in Mississippi, he has seen corn production shift from less than 300,000 acres in the state to almost 1 million acres.

"Corn is the second-leading crop in Mississippi; it’s a major row crop now," he says. "Folks are extremely serious about corn production in the south and are willing to gather whatever
information they can get their hands on to improve profitability and production on their farms."

Ferrie echoed the enthusiasm for growing the best corn crop possible in the south.

"We had really good questions from the crowd; they weren’t afraid to ask questions and they were asking the right questions. I was really encouraged by the enthusiasm of the farmers," he says.

Farm Journal Heads to the Field

Join our agronomists in the field this summer to take your yields to the next level.

Corn College Consultant/Retailer Session

  • July 15, Heyworth, Ill.

Corn College Advanced

  • July 16, Heyworth, Ill. (one-day session)
  • July 17–18, Heyworth, Ill. (two-day session)

Corn College Grad School

  • July 23, Heyworth, Ill.

Corn College Consultant/Retailer Session

  • July 29, Coldwater, Mich.

Corn College Fundamentals

  • July 31–Aug. 1, Coldwater, Mich.

To register, call (877) 482-7203 or visit

You can e-mail Pam Fretwell at

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