What is in this article?:
- Corn yield champ says price will dictate corn acreage in 2014
- It's important to try at least one new thing each year
- Dowdy's system costs more but good return on his investment
- Perennial national corn yield champ Randy Dowdy loves growing corn, but price will dictate his acreage in 2014.
- Dowdy challenges other growers to change at least one thing they're doing each year.
- His system focuses primarily on reducing plant stress.
DESPITE EXTENSIVE RAINFALL and flooding in 2013, south Georgia’s Randy Dowdy broke the 400-bushels per-acre mark with his corn crop. Here, Dowdy is shown in one of his fields that was washed out this past season.
Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-part series focusing on perennial national corn yield contest winner Randy Dowdy of south Georgia, his 2013 crop, and his plans for next year.
While Randy Dowdy loves to grow corn, and he’s been quite successful at it, like other growers he’ll be closely watching commodity markets when he divvies up his crop acreage next year.
“Obviously, the amount of corn we plant in the Southeast next year truly will be dictated by price,” says Dowdy, who broke the 400-bushel barrier with his 2013 corn crop.
“We have the option of growing cotton, corn, wheat, peanuts and soybeans, and there will be pressure on the grain markets. It appears now that the price will be deflated. With that being the case, some farmers will plant corn because of rotation, and some will do it because they’ve got weed problems and need to be using a different chemistry.”
Dowdy’s management strategy for next year will include focusing on his most productive areas. “High yields matter the most whenever prices are low. To be profitable, we need to maximize yields to increase our return on investment,” he says.
The last couple of years, with high commodity prices, fertilizer prices also have been up, he notes. “So there’s some pressure on the fertilizer prices to come down.”
Some of Dowdy’s strategies will change, as they do every year since he began growing corn in 2006. “Most all of my acres will be irrigated except for some dryland corners. I still enjoy growing corn, and one thing about growing corn is that I can double-crop it.
“If I plant beans behind wheat, it works pretty well. If I plant cotton or peanuts behind wheat, if the planting window is not optimal, then I end up taking away from the peanut or cotton crop. But my best double-crop option is something planted behind corn.
“There’s still some risk there with a possible early frost, but it provides a good cash flow in the middle of the year, and it provides a lot of organic matter.
“I don’t farm the best soils, so that’s a huge factor. With that being the case, we’ll work to continue building our soils, trying to increase the organic matter. We’ll also be looking at alternative sources of fertilizer, such as chicken litter.”
It’ll be interesting in 2014 with corn expected to return to the $4 to $5 level, says Dowdy.