That Crazy (wait, a better word might be Opportunistic) No Good (again, how about Pretty Good) Horrible (actually it could have been Profitable) 2019!
How AgVenture customer Mike Davis kept his APH rolling upward and achieved a really good corn crop in THAT year.
By Jeff Shaner, AgVenture Seed and Technology Manager
"You are going to plant your crop into one of four situations:
- At the time you wanted in fit conditions
- At the time you wanted in unfit conditions
- Later than you wanted in fit conditions
- Later than you wanted in unfit conditions
“When many farmers cannot pull the trigger on the first situation, they usually opt for number two. I’ll wait for number three, because the key word here is ‘fit’. Planting into unfit soil conditions is an anchor you will never sail beyond,” AgVenture customer Mike Davis said.
Mike is an avid reader, a compulsive doodler, and an intrepid entrepreneur always looking to outperform himself. You may know him as an original founding owner of the AgVenture brand. Or you may know him from his decades in leadership of the initial AgVenture Regional Seed Company sales outlet.
These days you might find Mike pouring your drink and sharing a laugh at the fine restaurant he maintains, having just completed a solid crop year on the farm ground he owns.
But the 2019 crop was a disaster, right?! Unfortunately, that was true for far too many of us, and I’m not here to sugarcoat how much it hurt. Yet Mike was able to circumvent some obstacles and produce a top crop. There are obviously lessons we can learn here. Let’s dig in.
Every acre needs to produce
Newton County, Indiana, has a water problem. This flat terrain normally holds on to too much water each spring. The same wet holes are inhibited as crop producers year after year. “We concentrated extensively on capital improvements the past couple of years that would enhance the capabilities of those acres,” Mike said. “Primarily this involved a lot of tiling. If an acre we own is considered tillable, it needs to pull its weight in filling the grain cart.”
This philosophy contributed mightily to the better-than-most start his fields enjoyed last spring.
The aforementioned fit soil conditions
“I cannot emphasize enough what planting perfection does for the bottom line,” Mike continued. “Precisely placed seed planted into fit soils eliminates many ills. Stands emerge better. Roots anchor better. Nutrients are absorbed better. Ears fill better. Harvest rolls along cleaner.
“How I execute on the day I plant sets me up to vanquish many of the struggles that can take the fun out of farming. Fun may not be my top priority, but I would much rather enjoy the ride than fight it each day.”
Knowing the product
“We have demonstrated a 14-bushel yield difference in certain corn hybrids solely based on which fungicide we apply to it,” Mike said. “I didn’t say just applying a fungicide…I said which fungicide. Not every hybrid reacts this way, mind you. You have to truly understand the nuances of product placement, and to do that you need to know the attributes of your babies.”
AgVenture takes a leadership position in characterizing hybrids. Your local AgVenture Regional Seed Company understands the attributes of inbred combinations and how to coax the most of each product.
“I had a farm that averaged 245 bushels per acre last fall. On that ground, I will accept that in any year. Our understanding of how to treat AgVenture’s AV7408AM™* for instance contributed to some smaller tracts of land averaging 265 bushels per acre with that hybrid,” said Mike, who works in concert with some very attentive growers on his farms who live out the AgVenture Maximum Profit System™ mindset.
“AV7408AM™* needs access to full nutrition late in the season to build kernel depth. When it has the goods, it can top-end big time.”
“Care is a good word here,” Mike continued. “Jim and Randy don’t just do crop-related activities for me. They take care of the crop to make sure it never has a bad day out in the field.
“One boost I believe has paid off in a great way for us is multiple applications and forms on N. It has become standard practice each year. All of that rain in 2019 depleted soils of N reserves. You could see from the windshield which farms up and down the road stuck with a single application. They paid the price, and not just in lost production. Stalk deterioration from lack of nutrition makes for a painful harvest in delayed maturity and lodged crops.”
Purchase the Newest Genetics
“Yes, they often cost more up front,” Mike said. “But we have marked a decided yield advantage in jumping to the recently released AgVenture products.”
“Get that crop in the bin while it is healthy!” Mike said. “Waiting for extended field drydown is just asking for losses. I’m talking losses in stalk deterioration, grain quality, and what we refer to as phantom yield loss.”
A mindset to actively go on the offensive and produce a top crop proved to be a winning strategy for Mike in 2019. He was a key driver in developing the AgVenture Maximum Profit System strategy and a firm believer that you never give up on the crop. With solid results just achieved in a tough crop year, you know he is itching to get rolling, in fit soil conditions of course, in 2020.