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High-Yield Production

 

High-Yield Corn Production Insights

Learn From These Growers

These growers tell their stories for how they grow corn for higher yields.

The Pros and Cons of 20" Rows.
Guy Peterson

Guy Petersen
Wyoming, IA.

  • 1,300 acres
  • Corn and soybeans
  • Dryland
  • Farms with part-time help from his son, Steve Agnitsch
Get Tips on N Management.
Donny Carpenter
Dimmitt, TX.

  • 5,000 acres
  • Corn, cotton, grain sorghum for seed
  • Irrigated
  • Farms with father, Don, and farm manager, Tony Puente
Fungicides & Micronutrients.
Randy Dowdy

Randy Dowdy
Valdosta, GA.

  • 1,500-2,000 acres
  • Corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and peanuts
  • Irrigated corn, some dryland acres for other crops
Fertilizer Applications & Foliar Fungicides.
Jeff Scates

Jeff Scates
Shawneetown, IL.

  • 15,000 acres
  • Corn, soybeans, wheat and sorghum
  • 60% irrigated, 40% dryland
  • Farms with 10 partners

Learning N Application Rates and Timing

Jeff Scates - Shawneetown, IL.

Jeff Scates Jeff Scates and 10 family members farm 15,000 acres in southern Illinois near the Ohio River. They use the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) yield contest among other things to try out nitrogen application levels and timing. In addition to the following videos, he shares a few insights.

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Meet Jeff Scates
Jeff Scates farms 15,000 acres with his family in southern Illinois.
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Meet Jeff Scates
Jeff Scates farms 15,000 acres with his family in southern Illinois.
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Using Agronomic Information to Improve Management Decisions
The Scates’s Farms says product consistency, strong agronomics and information from DuPont Pioneer agronomists are key to product success.
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Key Learnings from the NCGA Contest
The Scates’s Farms uses split-N applications to gain efficiency. Learn how these applications help increase production.
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Key Learnings From Competing in the NCGA Contest
The Scates’s Farms uses the NCGA contest to learn from others and apply the key learnings across their entire farm.
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View and Read Insights from Jeff Scates

Fertilizer Application
The Scates operation uses split nitrogen applications. They apply preplanting and come back with a partial rate after corn emerges, except on hills. “We hire a company with high-clearance equipment to apply N,” Scates says.”We also apply it through irrigation. About 60% of our acres are irrigated."

Foliar Fungicide
The proximity to the Ohio and Wabash rivers leads to lots of fog, which can increase disease pressure. Foliar fungicides are providing value on the Scates farms, even in years with less disease pressure.

Plant Populations
The Scates operation treats NCGA contest acres similarly to other corn acres. However, they do use contest and other test plots to research higher plant populations. They’ve adopted variable-rate planting, ranging from 33,000 to 38,000 seeds per acre and occasionally hitting 40,000 in small areas, including contest plots.

Hybrid Selection
Scates reports they’re using longer-season hybrids to take advantage of higher yield potential. “We’ll try to grow what we think will yield best,” he says. “We keep an eye on what growers in Arkansas and Louisiana are using. We’re targeting the 280 to 300-bushel range.”

He cites Pioneer field agronomist Eric Allinger as a key asset in learning hybrids and dealing with other issues. In November or December they map out hybrids and plan refuge acres as well as planning which fields to plant first.

Cover Crops
For 3 years, the Scates have explored various cover crops. They’ve tried radishes, cereal rye, annual rye and recently winter peas. The jury’s out on which may work best for their operation.

“We’re still experimenting, going slowly and learning from what we see,” Scates says.

Contest Benefit
The Scates usually enter 4 or 5 NCGA contest categories, but winning isn’t the primary goal. “We’re looking for practical changes to improve overall farm yields,” Scates says. “Our soil isn’t the best, but with irrigation, we can produce good yields.”


The foregoing is provided for informational use only. Please contact your Pioneer sales professional for information and management suggestions specific to your operation.

Texas Grower Splits N Applications to Increase Yields

Donny Carpenter - Dimmitt, TX.

Donny Carpenter shares his insights about his operation and what he’s learning from participating in the National Corn Growers Association yield contest. He doesn’t plant specific contest plots, but manages all his corn acres to produce cost-effective yields. In addition to the following videos, he shares a few insights.

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20-inch Rows Helps in Water Management
Donny Carpenter discusses how switching to 20-inch corn rows provides early shading in his corn fields, resulting in water and irrigation savings in his operation.
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20-inch Rows Helps in Water Management
Donny Carpenter discusses how switching to 20-inch corn rows provides early shading in his corn fields, resulting in water and irrigation savings in his operation.
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Learning From NCGA Yield Contest
Donny Carpenter reveals how keeping an open mind in the NCGA Yield Contest has helped improve his nitrogen management and fungicide applications.
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View and Read Insights from Donny Carpenter.

Nitrogen Management
Carpenter splits nitrogen (N) applications. He applies a third of the nutrient as starter fertilizer, using a humic acid product. He injects additional N from the V6 stage to tasseling. Then he adds another 40-50 pounds per acre after pollination. He also applies manure to fields to improve organic matter content.

Fungicides
He uses seed treatments that include a fungicide and also uses twin foliar fungicide applications, spraying a lower rate at about V5 stage and following with a full rate at pollination. “We’ve found preventative efforts work better than curative efforts,” he says. “Foliar fungicides pay for themselves in our fields.”

Nighttime Temperature Issues
Carpenter farms land southwest of Amarillo, northwest of the city and also to the northeast. The first 2 are of similar elevation and tend to cool off at nights. The northeast farm is lower and nighttime temperatures don’t allow ideal respiration.

Water Restrictions
Carpenter relies on irrigation. However, water limitations are a concern in his area. It forces growers like him to carefully manage timing of water use. It’s also led to less double cropping in recent years.

Plant Populations and Variable-Rate Seeding
Plant populations generally range from 32,000 to 42,000 seeds per acre. In some areas, Carpenter drops to 30,000 or goes as high as 48,000, depending on the soil, the hybrid and the proximity to the center pivot. “We plant lower populations on the edges of the field and gradually increase nearer the center of the field,” he notes.

Other Techniques and Strategies
Carpenter plants corn on 3,000 to 3,500 of his 5,000 acres most years. He rotates with cotton and grain sorghum seed production.

He relies on his Pioneer sales professional and an independent agronomist to find the right product for the right field. “You have to know what you need,” he says. “Every field is different. Some can make 300 bushels per acre, some can’t. In fact, areas in a field have different yield potential.”

A proponent of mapping and learning more about his fields, he’s excited about variable-rate fertilizer technology.

"I experiment with practices I think I can adopt across my fields,” he notes. “The NCGA contest provides another way we can learn more about our acres.”


The foregoing is provided for informational use only. Please contact your Pioneer sales professional for information and management suggestions specific to your operation.

First-Generation Grower Always Experimenting for Higher Yields

Randy Dowdy - Valdosta, GA.

Randy Dowdy Randy Dowdy is a first-generation farmer who’s been farming since 2006. He uses the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) yield contest to glean more information both from his and other growers’ entries.

Dowdy farms light soils, but has plentiful water for irrigation. He bases each year’s crop mix on market prices and rotation needs.

Fungicides
Heat, humidity and high disease pressure call for seed treatments and foliar fungicides. “Fungicides are an integral part of preventing disease stress,” he says. He applies 2 to 4 applications of fungicides depending on disease challenges.

Test plots
Dowdy experiments with new practices, applying those that show promise of a return on investment. He uses the NCGA yield contest similarly. “I have relationships with other growers and ask what they’re learning,” Dowdy reports.

Micronutrients
Dowdy sees significant impacts from providing higher levels of micronutrients, including sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, manganese and boron. Once the crop has sufficient nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, micronutrients may be the next limiting factor.

“I’m having to do a lot of my own research,” Dowdy says. “Existing recommendations were developed for obsolete corn genetics,” Dowdy says. He thinks targeted micronutrient concentrations may become a more important management tool.

Soil samples
Dowdy takes soil samples each year. Coupled with plant tissues samples, they provide solid clues to fertility issues and plant population targets.

Hybrid selection
Information from Pioneer IMPACT™ (Intensively Managed Product Advancement Characterization and Training) test plots and Product Knowledge Plots help Dowdy choose hybrids.

“I use a range of different relative maturities to spread risk. I don’t like to put all my eggs in one basket.” He notes hybrids differ in yield potential, grain quality, standability and other traits. Potential to produce 300 bushels is of questionable value if the plants fall over.

Learning every year
Dowdy continues to pursue information to help improve yields and yield stability on his acres.

“I’m inquisitive,” he admits. “I’m always thinking. I enjoy planting a crop and watching it grow. I read and ask questions and keep trying to learn. The NCGA contest shows us what others are accomplishing.”


The foregoing is provided for informational use only. Please contact your Pioneer sales professional for information and management suggestions specific to your operation.

Every Acre is a Contest Plot

Guy Petersen - Wyoming, IA.

Guy Petersen Guy Petersen of Wyoming, Iowa, is a bit adventurous about farming innovations. His efforts have led to some high yields in the National Corn Growers Association yield contest. In addition to the following videos, he shares a few insights.

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Meet Guy Petersen
A 3rd generation farmer who raises 1,300 acres of corn and soybeans in northeast Iowa.
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Meet Guy Petersen
A 3rd generation farmer who raises 1,300 acres of corn and soybeans in northeast Iowa.
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Products Continue to Improve
Guy Petersen says a strong decision-making team and using products with elite genetics is key to maximizing productivity.
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Converting to 20-inch Rows
In 2007 Guy Petersen converted to 20-inch rows. He provides tips for narrow-row production.
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Key Learnings From Competing in NCGA Contest
Guy Petersen discusses the benefits of competing in the NCGA contest.
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View and Read Insights from Guy Petersen

Long-Term No-Till
Petersen has practiced a no-till corn-soybean rotation for 20 years. No-till production helps limit soil losses on his highly erodible acres. He achieves high yields and avoids the expense of tillage.

Pros and Cons of 20-Inch Rows
He began researching 20-inch rows in corn in the 1990s. By 2002, he’d adopted it widely, moving to all 20-inch rows in 2007. He sees no negative impact on yields.

Variable-Rate Seeding
Petersen has used variable-rate seeding technology for 5 years. At first, he changed plant populations based on soil type. Now he’s incorporating yield history. He began using a yield monitor in 1996 to locate high- and low-yielding areas. “I’ve invested quite a bit in technology,” he says. “I have more than 15 years of data on my fields, and I’m still learning what kinds of things I can do with that data.”

Nutrients
Petersen is conducting nitrogen trials and working with varying levels of micronutrients. Because he plants 20-inch rows, he can’t get into corn if it is more than 6 inches tall. This means no split applications of nitrogen. “I may have to widen my rows in the future to be able to apply nitrogen later in the season,” he says.

Plant Populations
Petersen relies on his Pioneer sales rep for information about plant populations. Experience shows he can push certain hybrids but not others. “We range from 32,000 to 42,000 seeds per acre – sometimes within the same field,” he reports. “Most of our land does best between 36,000 to 42,000.”

Foliar Fungicide Trials
While many growers find foliar fungicides are valuable, Petersen says his trials haven’t shown a viable return on investment. He chooses hybrids with strong defensive traits and agronomics and thinks fungicides may be of value in certain hybrids.

Yield Contest Advice
Petersen urges young farmers to enter the NCGA yield contest. “It provides an opportunity to rub shoulders with fellow growers and learn,” he says. “You’re really in competition with yourself. It’s a chance to get outside your comfort zone and try things you wouldn’t otherwise try.”

Petersen echoes some advice his father once gave him: “Every acre is a contest acre. You’re trying to see what you can produce with the inputs you provide.”


The foregoing is provided for informational use only. Please contact your Pioneer sales professional for information and management suggestions specific to your operation.

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