Perhaps you think all yield contest champions win by throwing thousands of dollars at each acre in their contest fields. Randy Dowdy, Valdosta, Ga., insists that’s not true in his case. Every acre must pay its way — even every contest acre.
Dowdy was in Westfield at AgReliant Genetics' headquarters when official word came from the National Corn Growers Association that he had won the 2016 yield contest by posting the highest yield at 521 bushels per acre. The yield is based on 10 acres and is certified by third-party observers.
In fact, it was the first time the top two yields in the NCGA contest came from the same farm. The second-place yield, entered by Dowdy's son Eric, was 501 bushels per acre. Both hybrids were AgriGold numbers. AgriGold is one of AgReliant’s eight seed brands. Both winning entries were in the irrigated division.
Here is what Dowdy told Indiana Prairie Farmer in an exclusive interview after he received recognition for his achievements during a news conference held by AgriGold.
IPF: How long have you been growing corn?
Dowdy: I started raising corn in 2008. We typically raise peanuts and cotton. I didn’t start farming until 2006. I’m a first-generation farmer.
IPF: This is the second time you have won the national corn yield contest. Why did you decide to go after high yields?
Dowdy: It was all about profit. I bought a farm, and I needed to pay for it. I realized that if I could grow higher yields, I would get more revenue. It all boils down to growing more corn so you can keep your cost of production per bushel down to a low level.
IPF: What is your cost of production per bushel of corn?
Dowdy: For our entire farm, it’s right at $2.80 per bushel.
IPF: That is your variable cost of production, correct?
Dowdy: No! That includes fixed costs. That is all costs, period. We’re able to do it because of high yields. The farm average in 2016 was right at 369 bushels per acre. When you raise that kind of corn, it really helps when you’re dividing out cost per bushel of production. It’s the cost per bushel that matters and determines if you will make money.
IPF: What about on your contest acres — what is the cost of production on those acres?
Dowdy: It comes out about the same, at $2.80 per bushel. We invest more where we think the crop has a chance to turn out the highest yields, but we also harvest more bushels. In the end, cost of production per bushel comes out to be about the same as it is across the rest of our corn acres.