Thursday, September 5, 2013

Here's Some Kern

I was wandering around in the corn field with a soil probe, sweating something fierce, and took some pictures. I am seeing all kinds of weird shit out there that I've never seen before - stink bugs, Southern Rust, Goss's Wilt and variable ear size due to weird pollination. Also seeing some aphids, which we had last year, and make a gooey mess when you walk through the field.

LG 2636VT3P (114 day):

Stine 9534VT3P(107 day):

Stine 9631VT3P (109 day):

I am currently rethinking my whole farming philosophy. Sure, these triple stacks raise some good corn, but I don't remember any of this stuff when it was plain corn when I was a kid (I refuse to get into the GMO/non-GMO argument at this point, as I figure it's a free country and anyone can plant any damn corn they want. Until we are legislated away from it.). I am concerned that I'm not giving my soils the respect they deserve, since it's so easy to keep throwing corn out there. My soybean yields are not where I'd like them to be, but I'm thinking more and more that it's my fault. So, long story short, I'm considering going back to a conventional corn/RR soybean rotation. Or Liberty Link beans if I can get someone to spray them.

My main considerations: money, and using insecticides that I'm not familiar with.

I can make more money raising COC (corn-on-corn), as my corn will yield 180-200 bushels/acre, but beans struggle to consistently make 60. Do the soybeans lag because our soils won't sustain them, or because I've pillaged the soil with corn for so long? I will be farming some of this long term (I hope), so I'm ready to not make as much money for a few years to get my soils right.

I also have never used insecticides with the planter before. Triple stacks will protect against rootworm. Conventional corn requires a treatment in furrow with the planter. I have never handled dry insecticide and have been told I don't want to. Capture LFR is a liquid insecticide that I can mix with my starter fertilizer in-furrow when I plant. We don't have much rootworm pressure here, so I've been told I'd be ok doing that.

Sorry for the ramble. I'm struggling with these decisions. There's a lot more that goes into it, but those are the basic thoughts.

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