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Champion corn farmer Heath Cutrell of Chesapeake, Va.

Corn yield lessons from a head football coach

Many champion corn farmers take the same approach in winning corn yield contests as Belichick takes to winning football games.

I’m not a big fan of the New England Patriots. My team is the New Orleans Saints from my home state of Louisiana, but I must admit there is much to admire in the Patriots and their ability to win Super Bowl titles. They are clearly a champion caliber team.

In a 2017 interview with CNBC contributor Suzy Welch, New England Head Coach Bill Belichick offered pointers on being a champion. What’s interesting is many champion corn farmers take the same approach in winning corn yield contests as Belichick takes to winning football games.

In the CNBC interview, Belichick said success “is not all about talent. It's about dependability, consistency, being coachable and understanding what you need to do to improve.” Belichick also emphasized the importance of always living in the moment. He stressed the importance of preparation, emphasizing that a game is won or lost before you take the field.

“It’s one day a time. We don’t talk about last year. We don’t talk about next week. We don’t talk about next year. We talk about today and talk about the next game. And that’s all we can really control. The rest will take care of itself,” Belichick told Welch.

Champion corn farmers also know the importance of planning and preparation and taking care of the crop one day at a time. Heath Cutrell of Chesapeake, Va., won first place in the non-irrigated division of the 2018 National Corn Growers Association Corn Yield Contest with an entry of 360.8030 bushels on his North Carolina farm just south of the Virginia state line.

Like Belichick does with football, Cutrell uses a systematic approach to producing corn. And like Randy Dowdy of Valdosta, Ga., and David Hula of Charles City, Va., previous national contest winners from the Southeast in the irrigated division, Cutrell emphasizes trying new things and being a student of the crop

“We’re going to keep on doing what we’re doing. We’re going to continue to make sure our fertility is right and that our grain fill and test weight are right. When you do everything you can do, it makes a phenomenal package. Test weight is key. The more test weight you can pack on that cob, the more yield you will end up with at the end of the day,” Cutrell says.

When you think about it, football champions and corn champions have much in common.


TAGS: Management
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