Attendees at the National Farm Machinery Show had the chance to hear from Randy Dowdy, a 2015 NCGA Yield Contest Winner. Dowdy farms in southern Georgia and claimed the first place prize in the irrigated category with a high yield of 486.1594 bushels/acre.
During his presentation, Dowdy explained that a near 500 bu yield doesn’t happen overnight. For years, he has been focused on being a student of the crop. Through trial-and-error, with a lot of on-farm research, Dowdy began to put the pieces together that would help him boost yields while maximizing his return on investment.
“Corn yield is lost or captured on stress management, so you have to understand what stress is. The hardest thing for me to ever do was figure out what the stress was.” Dowdy said. He explained that growers need to be asking themselves, “What am I doing today that induces stress, and what am I doing today that prevents stress?”
Stress on any crop can come in many forms, but for corn, compaction, emergence, water, heat, and disease are a few of the examples that Randy listed as being key factors in affecting corn yields. Managing stress and having consistent emergence are two areas where Randy says growers can start making small changes with big results.
“If you want to make 350-, 400-, 500-bu corn, it starts with a 350-, 400-, or 500-bu stand. If it doesn’t all come up at the same time, you’ve got a problem.” Dowdy advised. “The first thing a grower needs to address is consistent emergence.” As Dowdy explained, there are is no sense in fertilizing for 350-bu corn when you only have 200-bu corn in your field.
For more insight from Randy, listen to the full 5 minute interview here: : Interview with Randy Dowdy, NCGA Yield Winner