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Field management practices show dividends at harvest

Despite a tough year for weather, disease, and pest pressure, XtremeAg’s Kelly Garrett, Matt Miles, and Kevin Matthews are seeing better-than-average numbers due to their field management practices all season long. 

Kelly Garrett - Arion, Iowa

A fifth-generation farmer, Kelly Garrett farms corn, soybeans, and winter wheat in western Iowa.

We are desiccating 120 acres of soybeans this year. It is not a common practice in Iowa. In fact, I don’t know of anyone else in our area who desiccates soybeans. It is something we picked up from our XtremeAg partners Matt Miles and Kevin Matthews, and we think it will provide some significant advantages. We’ll be able to harvest earlier and get our winter wheat planted earlier, plus a desiccated field is less work for the combine, so we can run at a faster speed and a better basis with no lines at the elevator this early in the harvest season. 

Some believe that the repeated drying and swelling of the beans reduces test weight. If we can dry it down quickly one time, I believe it will make the test weight better.

Soybean harvest on Iowa farm
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We have combined a limited amount of the desiccated beans because we had to break due to high moisture levels. So far, we have started cutting our 1-1 RM beans from Hefty and the yield monitor is showing yields north of 80. We are excited about that.

We also chopped 40 acres of silage corn last week and we really liked what we saw from the Integra 6588 we planted. We picked and weighed a few ears before chopping that averaged 14.5 to 15.5 ounces. We are awaiting the insurance appraisal but expect it will be somewhere between 250 and 280 bushels per acre (bpa).

Matt Miles - McGehee, Arkansas

Matt Miles is a fourth-generation farmer in southeast Arkansas who grows corn, soybeans, rice, and cotton.

You can stick a fork in the corn on Miles Farms because it’s officially done! 

Not only is it done, but we are thinking we may just have the best farm yield average we’ve ever had. This includes the acres that were flooded that we had to shred last month. If there was one smart thing I have done in my life, it would be joining the XtremeAg team. Some of the practices I’ve learned from this group have paid dividends this year. It has also helped to have a new dryer that allowed me to get the corn out with early premiums and before Hurricane Ida made landfall.

Matt Miles loading a semi
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We have harvested 80 acres of soybeans and about 40% of our total rice. All our crops seem to be doing great, but the jury is still out on how great the final cotton yields will be. We’ve had an increase in boll rot this season because of high levels of humidity in the morning along with rain. The plants have really reacted strangely this year in the Delta. I have cotton that is open halfway with the top bolls still green. Same thing happened on soybeans as well and to some degree on corn. I am thinking that it’s possible that a lack of heat units at key times and intermittent sunlight has confused the plants. So far though, between the markets and the yields, we are excited about this harvest.

Semis loading in Arkansas
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Speaking of Ida, my heart goes out to everyone who has been in her path all the way to Maryland, where I have good friends still dealing with flooding. We were extremely blessed to be on the west side of the storm and only experience small amounts of rain and some pretty good winds. Nothing compared with the storms we had to deal with last year. Please pray daily for the farmers affected and all the other people who have lost their homes, businesses, and even their lives.

Kevin Matthews - East Bend, North Carolina

Kevin and his wife, Cindy, own and operate Matthews Family Farms of North Carolina, Inc., Precision Nutrient Management, Inc., and Deep Creek Grain, Inc. in East Bend and Yadkinville.

Our corn harvest has gone pretty smooth so far with very few issues. Our yields are looking really good in areas that received above-average rain this year. The areas with lower rainfall levels are below average. The majority of our 111-day corn is already picked, but we still have some 111-day NCGA contest corn that will be picked this week.  

This contest corn is on Netafim drip irrigation and managed with a Nachurs fertility program. It provided a beautiful backdrop for my daughter’s wedding over Labor Day weekend, and therefore it will forever be known as the “wedding corn.”

Wedding corn in North Carolina
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Harvest had to stop for a few days for the wedding, but it was a beautiful day with friends and family on our farm set against a backdrop overlooking fields of corn, and of course a freshly washed combine and tractor.

Now that the wedding is behind us, we have started soybean desiccation. We are getting many questions about soybean desiccation from our members, and we have some great videos coming soon that should help farmers make the best decisions for their operations. 

We should have our AgroLiquid fertility corn plots harvested in the next few weeks. I am excited to see the results on all our fertility plots this season. membership really can help you see firsthand how and why things are done on our farms and across a large geographical footprint. Stay safe.

Xtreme Ag Logo is a team of the nation’s top producers who have come together to share their experience, expertise, knowledge, and farming practices with other farmers. Members get access to exclusive content from the team as well as one-on-one support for their own farming operation. Visit for more information.

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