Missy Bauer, an independent crop consultant with B & M Crop Consulting in Coldwater, Michigan, spoke to 250 growers attending the South Carolina State Corn and Soybean Growers Meeting in early December. Bauer advised the group that there are 5 factors they can use to help produce high-yielding corn crops:
- a fertility program,
- proper nitrogen management,
- stand establishment and ear count,
- proper root growth and soil density, and
- pest management strategies.
“Farmers who utilize these practices increase their ability to have high-yielding crops,” said Bauer, adding the first step in field establishment is conducting soil tests. Soil sampling is the foundation of a good fertility program. Soil tests should include tests for soil pH and lime, phosphorous, potassium and micronutrients.”
Other topics Bauer addressed included picket fence stands and photocopied plants and ears, uneven emergence effects on plants, optimum environments for roots, soil density’s effects on roots and how having equipment with the latest technology can help increase yields.
Edgar Woods of Palmetto Grain Brokerage in Ridgeland, South Carolina, advised farmers to look ahead, adding he is hearing more corn acres and fewer soybean acres will be planted in 2018.
As farmers are preparing for the new growing season, Woods said they need to keep in mind 2017 was a record year for several crops. Farmers need to think about what they will do differently, keeping in mind storage needs and so on, he said.
David Holshouser from Virginia Tech talked about double-cropping soybeans with small grains and other crops as another method farmers can use to increase profits and improve the environment.
“Intensively managing small grains, followed by high-yielding soybeans, provides for greater profitability and more efficient use of land, labor, equipment and inputs,” Holshouser said. “The double-crop system also provides environmental benefits by preventing runoff, mining leached nutrients and improving soil quality.”
Harry Ott, president of the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, talked about the fight to get cotton back as a Title I crop, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and water issues. Cotton was removed as a covered commodity of Title I of the 2014 Farm Bill. This made it ineligible for the Agricultural Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage programs.
“The future of agriculture depends on us,” Ott said. “We need everyone to get involved and show their support for agriculture.”
Source: Denise Attaway, Clemson University