What is in this article?:
- Corn is an unforgiving crop.
- Realistic goals needed.
- Early growing season mostly favorable.
BUTCH AYCOCK, Collin County, Texas, corn farmer, says early conditions were good for most of his 2012 corn crop.
Aycock says technology has helped corn farmers. He plants all Roundup Ready corn hybrids. “I’ve been planting Roundup Ready for years and made 120 bushels per acre the first time I planted it. I plant a lot of Pioneer and Terral hybrids.”
Technology has allowed him to cut back on tillage over the past few years. “Most people plow more than I do,” he said. “I don’t plow anything in the spring.”
Aycock just sold his last 12-row cultivator, left over from 10 years ago.
He likes to rotate but said he’s gotten away from his ideal program “when we got into a dry cycle. I plant wheat on my lighter land and keep corn on the better soil. I got everything rotated in 2010. With a wet spring I couldn’t plant, so I fallowed some land and that helped the rotation.”
More technology would be appreciated. Aycock would like to see drought-tolerant hybrids developed for his area. “I think they would help. We might look back at old-time genetics and develop hybrids that put on two ears per stalk and then plant fewer seed per acre. With precision planters, we get pretty much every seed up.”
Even with high fertilizer prices he hasn’t cut back on nutrients for his corn. “We have to have fertilizer available to corn early and also in-season.”
Cutting back gives the crop another opportunity to add a black mark to the record book, he said.
He hopes that record book is fairly clean after corn harvest and says Northeast Texas farmers have an opportunity to make two good crops this year—wheat and corn or milo.
“Our wheat averaged close to 80 bushels per acre,” Aycock said. “We were pleasantly surprised.”
He said adequate rainfall through the season was a critical factor. “But fungicides also made a difference.We didn’t see much variation between the four varieties we planted, but fungicide made more wheat.”
He said yields across Northeast Texas were exceptional. “We’ve never seen a better crop. This is the best wheat we’ve ever made. Yields were eight to 10 bushels better than most of us had ever seen.”
He’s thankful for the favorable weather that made that good wheat possible and makes a decent corn yield a distinct possibility. He’s dealt with all kinds of bad weather—rain that prevented planting, hail that destroyed crops and drought that withered plants in the field. He prefers excess moisture to drought.
“Wet is easier to deal with, especially with the equipment we have now,” he said.
“We can’t cure dry.”