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What a Difference a Year Makes in Crop Yields

What a Difference a Year Makes in Crop Yields
Seed rep says farmers were pleasantly surprised across his territory.

When Chris Hussey gets up in the morning, he knows he's likely going to travel to the east. He lives near Tipton on the western edge of his territory, and covers east-central Indiana, all the way to Ohio, for Agri-Gold. Agri-Gold is one of the companies that feature Ag Reliant Genetics. Ag Reliant is the third largest corn seed company in the U.S.

Those drives were a lot more pleasant this year compared to last year, Hussey says. His farmers had much better crops in general, particularly corn yields, and were much happier. They may not make more money, but farmers like to grow things, especially corn. Growing corn makes them happy.

Good yields: Chris Hussey says most of the farmers he works with recorded good corn yields this year.

"When we started to get into the test plots, it was obvious that in general corn was better than most of the guys I work with thought it would be this year," Hussey says. "We've had some really good plots, and some really high yields."

At one point when it stopped raining in August it appeared that the change in weather might take the top end off corn yields. If it did, then the yields would have been out of this world had it continued raining. What appeared to happen instead was the crop used the cool nights to continue to pump starch into kernels, and pulled nutrients from stalks and leaves if necessary to finish kernels and make good yields.

Usually yield checks made using a tried-and-true formula overestimates yield by 10 to 20%. This assumes you count ears and kernels in early August. This year even after the dry spell, yields were often 10 to 20% better, or higher than the yield estimates. That's true even though it would have appeared natural to adjust the formula to predict even lower yield due to shallow kernels. That just didn't happen.

"Test weights were good for the most part," Hussey says. "We just had a good year for corn."

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