February 14, 2023
At a Glance
- Russell Hedrick proved the experts wrong.
The experts said it was impossible to achieve a dryland corn yield of more than 450 bushels per acre. Russell Hedrick proved the experts wrong, and in doing so proved almost anything is possible with ingenuity and the spirit to always do better.
Hedrick, a first-generation farmer from Hickory, N.C., was honored for his accomplishment at the North Carolina Commodities Conference Jan. 12 at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham. Hedrick’s world record dryland yield of 459.1 bushels per acre was achieved in 2022 with a full-flex corn variety, AgVenture 9916. Hedrick beat the previous dryland record of 442.14 bushels per acre set by the late Manchester, Iowa, farmer Francis Childs in 2002.
At the meeting, North Carolina State University Extension Corn Specialist Ron Heiniger said that nobody in the history of the world has ever achieved a dryland yield higher than Hedrick’s 459.1 bushels per acre, noting that many corn experts believed a dryland yield of more than 450 bushels per acre was impossible.
Read how Hedrick beat the record at World record dryland corn yield reached in North Carolina.
Heiniger noted Hedrick essentially used the practices all good farmers use to achieve good yields: He made sure the crop got off to a good start and aimed for uniform emergence and growth. Importantly, Heiniger said nutrients were available to the crop all season, not just at layby time, but also at VT. Planting a full-flex variety was also important.
Certainly, technology and cooperative weather helped Hedrick achieve his landmark yield, but more importantly, the right attitude and the can-do spirit demonstrated by Hedrick made all of the difference in the world.
Like Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Neil Armstrong, and so many other innovators, Russell Hedrick demonstrated that the motivation to succeed and a willingness to prove the experts wrong can often make impossible dreams possible.
Before Roger Bannister achieved the four-minute mile in 1954 at the age of 25, the experts believed a four-minute mile was impossible to achieve. Today, the four-minute barrier has been broken by more than 1,000 athletes and is considered the benchmark for elite world class runners. Will 450-bushel per acre dryland corn be the four-minute mile benchmark for elite corn farmers?
It could well be, as long as the companies continue their breeding work to develop superior hybrids, and if the commitment to research to find even more ways to stretch the yield envelope carries on. The technological advances to date have been amazing, and there is every reason to believe they will continue if we keep the commitment.
Of course, the most important element is the human spirit, the willingness to set an audacious goal then achieve that goal. Edison, the Wright Brothers, Neil Armstrong, and champion farmers like Russell Hedrick prove that almost nothing can stop a visionary on a mission.
About the Author(s)
You May Also Like
Bayer’s new herbicide controls grass in cornfieldsMar 28, 2023
Republicans spar with Vilsack over SNAPMar 28, 2023
Careful management helps offset high fertilizer costsMar 21, 2023