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.
Dowdy's system costs more but good return on his investment
Dowdy’s success in corn production has ignited a lot of interest in his system, and this past year he helped consult on between 10,000 and 12,000 acres.
“The results varied, depending on when the corn was planted. Everyone had good yields, but it was not across-the-board on every acre simply because what we should have planted in 10 days instead took three four weeks in some cases. Also, some growers planted one hybrid and did not want to diversify.”
Some of his growers averaged 300 bushels across an entire field, while others averaged less, he says. It all depended on when the variety pollinated and the kind of weather it experienced during grain fill.
Criticism comes with the territory when you’re achieving something no one else has been able to achieve, and Dowdy shrugs it off as human nature.
“I’m doing what I’m doing to make a living. My corn program costs more time and more money, but it has always been a good return on investment and has always made money and higher yields as long as Mother Nature cooperates. We can do our part but God is the finisher, and I give him all the glory.
“If an opportunity is taken away by weather, then that’s tough. Everything I do is about preventing stress on the plant, and there are some things that can’t be prevented, such as too much rain or not enough rain, or too much or too little sunlight.
“Most growers know this is not just one silver bullet — they know it’s a management strategy.”
Dowdy concedes he can’t make everybody happy. “There are people out there who will be critical no matter what. I’m pretty thick-skinned — I do what I do. Part of the reason I share the information I share is because when I first started, someone was willing to help me.
“I don’t have to prove anything. Some of the professionals are critical because they’ve never grown 300-bushel corn.
“So how can they say what’s viable when they haven’t done it themselves? I take people like that with a grain of salt. That’s part of life. I try to help the growers who want my help, and if I can help them I do.
“The University of Georgia has been very receptive, and we’ve done many trials and fieldwork together.”
To help other growers with their questions and requests for advice, Dowdy has set up a website, firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’re in the process of setting this up now. I’ll refer growers to the web page, and we’ll offer services. I can’t walk every field, but we’ll do what we can to answer questions and provide information.
“I’ve got a willingness to help people, and I’m humbled by the response I’ve received from growers and others.”