By Gerald Krueger Aberdeen
A while back I attended a farm seminar put on by Hefty Seed Company at their local office. The speaker was Randy Dowdy, a grain farmer in Georgia. Randy was an excellent speaker and had lots of audience participation.
Randy is internationally known for his unbelievable crop yields. He has raised corn to the tune of 500-plus bushels per acre, and soybeans to 171 bushels per acre. Randy is a world record-holder of crop yields, and continues to break records right and left.
He is very willing to share what he knows and what he does to obtain such astronomical numbers in the crop department. In fact, he shamed us all when he asked if we have had any great yields recently. The audience members were reluctant to share what they have done to get good results.
Every farmer who has been successful in finding new methods or new equipment should be very ready to share his new discoveries with his fellow farmers.
Randy has some very good pointers to help each and every farmer learn what is mandatory in farming practices to increase yields. Farmers have absolutely no control over the weather and prices, but there are so many aspects available to use that will help make a better bottom line in our farming operations.
His method: Go with the flow about the two items you cannot control, and improve on those tools you do have control over.
Yes, admitting that weather and prices are not controllable makes lots of sense.
Here are some examples Randy uses every day on his Georgia farm. He spreads out the varieties he plants over his entire farm. He is religious about the depth of planting, varying from 1¾-inch seed depth to 2½-inch seed depth. He pointed out that it is vital that your plants all emerge at the same time and get the same start. Planters with power down to the planting devices is a must which makes for a very accurate depth control.
Randy is a devout user of chemicals to enhance the chances that his crops make a maximum yield. Whether it be herbicides, insecticides or, of course, the timely application of fertilizer — any substance that will make the plant grow healthy and rapidly, he uses it.
Randy was asked what population he plants per acre. He responded that you never want to put all your eggs in one basket, so he varies his plant population over his entire farm. The same goes for the maturity days of the seed he uses. He varies them all from very early maturing to very late maturing days.
Of course to make these remarkable yields he uses pivot irrigation religiously. In Georgia they are concerned about nighttime temperature being too high, so they night irrigate to keep the temperatures down.
Randy used his talent as a public speaker to challenge and to admonish what he knows is every farmers characteristics and used these tools to get reactions from the audience.
All in all it was two hours very well spent and lots of knowledge was gained by being in attendance.
Columnist Gerald “Jerry” Krueger of Aberdeen is a retired educator, coach, commercial pilot and farmer. Email [email protected]