Renewable Farming

251-bu. corn in 2017 was “our best ever whole-farm average”

One of our longtime WakeUP clients placed his early-bird order for WakeUP yesterday, and mentioned that his farm-wide non-GMO corn yield average rose above 250 bu. for the first time in 2017. Here are some other ingredients he credits for higher, more consistent yields.

Feb. 22, 2018 — Northeast Iowa’s wet spring and dry late-summer weather in 2017 didn’t favor new corn yield records, but a medley of management tools generated that in the fields of some of our WakeUP clients. One who has planted only non-GMO corn and soybeans for years reported an average 251 bu. per acre from a program which includes:

— Cover crops on as many acres as time allows in the fall.

— Strip tillage only, with dry fertilizer placed deep under the row. Precise GPS tracking positions the planter directly over strip nutrients in the strips, in 30-inch rows. The strip-till tool also clears most trash from the planter pathway to help reduce planter bouncing and achieve uniform seed depth.

— Twin corn rows over the strip tillage pathway.

— Metering out spring-applied nutrients and biologicals as needed, close to the row, mobilized with WakeUP Spring. (We encourage WakeUP Spring tank-mixed with nutrients and biologicals placed in-furrow, 2×2 or over the top of rows with the planter.)

— Two foliar feeding applications as indicated by careful field scouting and analysis of GPS map data. Foliars are amplified with WakeUP Summer.

This is also a cattle feeding operation, so there’s some benefit to foundational biological life in the soil from manure applications on a rotational basis.

This grower’s soybean yields occasionally hit 70 bushels. However, he doesn’t expect top-end yields because he’s focused on marketing clear hilum, food-grade soybeans where emphasis is on quality. Yields in 2017 varied depending on weed pressure, which was intense during the wet early months of 2017 in our region. Like many cover crop growers who also raise non-GMO corn and soybeans, he’s searching for a non-glyphosate way to terminate cover crops in the spring.