North Florida farmers have been working hard to get their corn crops harvested. Silage harvest is mostly finished, and the earliest planted corn has air dried to about 16% moisture for those who don’t use driers. Late-March planted corn is being harvested and dried in between rain showers. Throughout North Florida, farmers are collecting data from their on-farm research including fertilizer rate and hybrid trials, and entering plots into the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) yield contest. I believe this is the best corn year this area has ever seen, particularly in the context of new technology and management practices. I only have a 10 year local tenure to make that judgment call, but because our hybrid selection has improved so much in the last 10 years as well as irrigation technology, I am confident in that statement. We know that we tend to make our best corn yields in a dry year, under good irrigation management. A dry year typically offers two things that I think are most important: 1) No nutrient leaching rainfalls, and 2) High photosynthesis rates.
My colleagues invited me to Lee Peanut Farms last week where they were juggling commercial harvest and small-plot harvest for entry into the NCGA yield contest. This 300 acre field was planted to Croplan Genetics 6640. Contest judges Joel Love (FDACS) and Dan Fenneman (UF/IFAS Extension Madison) measured the field into 1.3 acre strips and worked with the farm to harvest and weigh separately. Yields on the small plots averaged 270 bushels per acre, while the field as a whole averaged 248 bushels per acre. This grain will be used locally to feed dairy cows.
Since the rest of the crew had data collection easily handled, I took the opportunity to collect some video to share. Thanks to Brooks Garland at Lee Peanut Farms, and his crew for working with me to gather some good footage.