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#Grow24 underway at Missouri’s Fordyce Farms

State soybean president shares season progress, sowing corn and beans simultaneously.

May 8, 2024

3 Min Read
Renee Fordyce sits on a bed of a pickup truck with a dog
ON A ROLL: Missouri Soybean Association president Renee Fordyce takes a break during planting season to talk about strategy for this year, including harvest-seeding of cover crops with new tech. Missouri Soybeans

Editor’s note: This 2024 growing season, Missouri Ruralist will follow Fordyce Farms, sharing updates from the field, along with a postharvest recap. Check our website and Facebook for more updates in the coming months.

by Laura Handke

The words “extremely well” aren’t usually words associated with planting or harvest, but this year, Missouri farmer Renee Fordyce says those words are nearly a perfect fit.

Planting went extremely well for her family’s operation in Harrison County, beginning April 9 and finishing April 25.

“We had both planters rolling at the same time, planting corn and soybeans, and it couldn’t have gone any better, minus the few rains that slowed things down,” says Fordyce, who farms alongside her husband, Richard. “But we needed rain, so everything worked the way it was supposed to.”

For decades, corn was always first on the planting roster at the farm. Today, data-backed science would suggest that early-planted soybeans can be more profitable with the extra growing-degree units the crop is able to secure, leading Fordyce to plant both corn and soybeans at the same time. 

Conservation-minded approach to farming

Fordyce uses an in-furrow 9-18-9-1 starter that helps get germination off to a good start.

“We’re feeding the seed, and we’re also using a nitrogen replacement product that’s injected in-furrow to help reduce our nitrogen requirements by 40 pounds,” she explains. “We’re able to replace 40 pounds of synthetic nitrogen.”

Fordyce says that she can’t ever remember the use of anhydrous ammonia — a nod to her family’s commitment to soil health.

The operation is also heavily invested in cover crops.

As a diversified row crop and cattle operation, the Fordyces are able to see both the soil health and grazing benefits of a fall-seeded cover crop. This year, the operation will implement a new system designed by Montag that will allow seeding to be done simultaneously with corn harvest.

“The Montag system is a pneumatic tank, like an air seeder, that fastens to the outside of the combine,” she explains. “The seed is pneumatically sent to a distributor plate right behind the corn head, so as soon as you cut a stalk and shell the ear, the cover crop seed is dropped. When the spreader blows the chaff out the back of the combine, it’s covering up the cover crop seed.” 

Beyond the field challenges

Aside from the weather, commodity prices and rising input costs, Fordyce says the most difficult hurdle they have is finding more ground.

“Farming is very competitive,” she says. “We are blessed with two great full-time guys — labor isn’t an issue for us. But we can’t grow if we can’t find more acres.” 

The challenge isn’t new, but this year, Fordyce, who serves as Missouri Soybean Association president, helped create a new beginning farmer initiative to keep land in agriculture production.

“The bill provides the selling farmer a tax break for both the sale and cash rent of acres to a beginning farmer,” Fordyce says. “This program helps young people who want to get started but don’t have the access to land.”

Handke writes from Easton, Kan.

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