“We don’t want to use a lot of material from this year because it was not a normal year. We don’t put a lot of stock in anything that happened this year of the hybrids and varieties from this year. We don’t want to use a lot of information from this year.
“The only thing we did learn is the old adage that a wet year will starve you to death and a dry year will worry you to death, and it certainly did. We’re not going to change much for next year.”
The turnover with new hybrids has made it tough to test out new hybrids and varieties. “A number doesn’t last long anymore. It used to be that you’d plant the same hybrid for five to 10 years, now you’re lucky if you plant the new hybrid over three years. The new genetics are always coming on. We rely on our seed dealers because there is always something new and better, that’s why it costs $250 for a bag of seed corn.
“Our corn was very good as far as disease until we got into September. We didn’t spray any fungicides because we didn’t have any disease. By the time we got the rains and the disease, it was too late to spray.
“We sprayed a good share of our beans for spider mite and aphids and it paid on most of our fields. It has been quite a ride this year. No two years are alike. I enjoy the challenge of trying to make something better. Every year is different, and you try to take those challenges and learn from them.”
“The No. 1 thing this year was genetics, but tillage, insecticide and management also played a part. We had agronomists come out and do some nematode testing, and they found quite a few nematodes in the corn. We had all of our corn treated with VOTiVO and it really helped the root mass. That had to help. We also sprayed some insecticide on with our herbicide. I think putting all those together really helped our corn this year.
“We sprayed our corn after corn with fungicide but that was all. One of our corn-after-corn fields was our best field this year. It has been in corn for four years now.
“I’m not going to judge anything this year. We had test plots at my house and we had yields anywhere from 174 to 304 bushels. Next year, will I go to plant all the corn that did 304? No. We’re pretty much staying the same with corn for next year.
“With soybeans, we’re going with all Liberty Link for the coming season. The yield data showed yields that were as good or a little bit better with the Liberty Link and it is a different mode of action. Marestail has been the biggest problem. We changed our pre- program this year and had almost 100% control with marestail, and we’re still going to change it up with the Liberty Link. With corn, we’ve been all triple stack except for our refuge ever since they came out with the technology. The yields have always been hurt in the refuge in the past, so we will continue to use the triples stacks.
Yields were strong in 2011 despite the late planting season. “My beans made a little over 60 bushels, around 62. My bins are going to be full. I am going to have to haul some to town. The corn might be close to averaging around 180 bushels. The last corn we took off was around 18% or 19% moisture so it was going through the dryer pretty quickly. I am hoping for 17% or 18% from here on out.
“We had some storm damage earlier in the season and we got some sled runner corn. I had one hybrid that didn’t take that very well. It slowed us down a little, and we had some ear loss from ears bouncing out once in a while. But what we’ve got now is still standing pretty decently. I have been farming for over 40 years, and every year has been different.”
The plans are to continue with the crop rotation for 2012. “I usually rotate from corn to beans every year and I doubt that I’ll change that. I noticed some of the hybrids that worked well last year didn’t do as well this year, but of course they’ve changed that whole line up anyway.
“Herculex hybrids were very healthy this year. We had some triple and some quad with the Herculex, the rootworm, the corn borer and the Roundup Ready. We’ll stick with the quads and triples for next year. I planted three different soybean varieties this year. Every year we look at a couple of new hybrids and varieties. I had at least six different corn hybrids this year and we’ll probably have about the same next year.”
“This is our second year for planting AgriGold for corn. We’ve been really happy with 6458. So far it’s the best hybrid we’ve had, but we still have a ways to go with harvest. It has been averaging around 200 bushels across the board. It has been up to 230 or 240 at different spots in the field. We’re really happy with that AgriGold and we’re looking to plant more next year.
“It’s a VT3 triple stack and we even had some straight Roundup Ready in the refuge corn and it looked really good. It will be interesting to see some more areas where we just had the Roundup Ready. We did have some stalks going down in some of the Roundup Ready and it wasn’t nearly as good of quality. I think the stacked traits for insects pays off in the long run in terms of yields and stalk quality.
“We planted Pioneer, Asgrow and Beck’s soybeans. For soybeans, we didn’t see much difference between the varieties, but the earlier planted fields did better. The earliest beans were Beck’s and they did really well. It was a Roundup Ready variety. We’re going to sit down, print the yield maps out and go through things. We’re going to look at which varieties did better at which planting dates. There are a lot of different variables this year. We had some fields that got dumped on right after planting. There were a lot of challenges through the year.”