Frank Kralicek's top three high yield tools are a side dump trailer, a high clearance crop sprayer and a scissors or a knife.
That's a weird combination, but let me explain.
Kralicek, Yankton, S.D., produced 318 bushels of corn in a state where hitting 200 bushel per acre is something to be proud of. Kralicek's yield came in a South Dakota Corn Growers Association Show Plot last year.
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Kralicek says one of his keys to high yields is livestock manure. He sells corn a to be a beef cattle feedlot and hauls away the manure and spreads it on his fields. That's where the side dump trailer comes in. It makes it a lot easier and faster to handle and haul manure.
Even of fields where manure has been spread, he applies commercial fertilizer. He soil tests and takes tissue tests. To his surprise, tissue tests frequently show that even though his soil has high nutrient levels, the plants are sometimes short of different compounds. That's where the knife comes in. He takes tissue samples from corn four to six times during the growing season. He'll tissue test soybeans three or four times. When the tissue test results say there's a deficiency, he'll sidedress or foliar apply nutrients.
In a typical season he'll spray a field 4-6 times.
It's a lot of work, says Kralicek, but the yields are worth it.