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Keeping the crop stress away

XtremeAg’s Kelly Garrett, Matt Miles, and Kevin Matthews spend the week focused on getting their crop through heat stress, heavy rain, and increased weed pressure.


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

All of our corn is out of the ground and looking pretty good. I am happy with the stand so far. We are in the middle of our post-planting chemical applications now, applying a mix of MegaGro (a PGR) and a stress-mitigation product called Shield-X. We are anticipating a summer with above-average temperatures, so our focus is going to be on keeping heat stress off the crop. We will be testing out several different products to see which ones offer the best protection. I believe that we get enough nutrition to the plant, and the yield limiters we face are stress. If we can keep the plants feeling good, then they will consume the nutrients we are giving them.

We’ve noticed that in the areas where we planted into a thicker over crop, the corn is not as tall at this stage. We are watching it closely to see if there is a yield penalty. We don’t think there will be a yield reduction, but it is interesting to see the difference.

Map of Iowa drought conditions
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

We’ve had adequate rainfall thus far in the planting season, but we still feel like there is not enough moisture in the ground for this point in the season. We are probably going to be starting up our Netafim drip systems within the next few weeks as a result. Once that happens, we will be delivering nutrients and water regularly directly to the plant root zone for the remainder of the season.


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

There are certain times of the year in farming that you get to the point that there is so much going on that you think there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and that you will never get everything done on time. You tell yourself, “I’m cutting back on acres!” These times aren’t fun but if you stay persistent, keep plugging, it eventually goes away.

Bright green Corn growing in Arkansas on Matt Miles' farm
Photo credit: XtremeAg

That sums up this week for us. We were kept out of the field for about seven days due to rain and cloudy weather. If you have ever watched pigweeds (Palmer) grow, I think it’s a 3rd cousin to corn, the way it grows. Things get hairy quickly. We took every sprayer we had and went to work. That along with laying poly pipe and running spreaders took everything we had to keep going.

Wheat growing in Arkansas in early June
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Oh, did I mention our wheat was ready to cut also? This will probably be a record wheat crop for us. The XtremeAg guys have helped us add yield to our wheat crop this year.

The awesome thing is that all our crops look outstanding currently. Once we knock the weeds back in the cotton, we are off to a great start. Lots can change between now and harvest but hopefully the heat will be bearable, and we come out of this thing with successful yields.


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.

Corn planting is pretty much wrapped up other than a few areas we need to replant because of receiving of 5 to 9 inches of rain in less than one week. Heavy rains on a recently planted crop are never a good situation; however, our more mature crops really enjoyed the rain and are off to a good start.

Kevin Matthews plants in brown soil on his North Carolina farm
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Our soybeans are looking very good, and we have completed most of our post-emerge applications. We will be starting our wheat harvest in the next seven days and then follow-up with our double-crop soybeans. We will be testing many products on our double-crop soybeans this season. They are typically our lowest-yielding soybeans, so it will be interesting to see if we find a mix of products to push yield. If we can raise the bar on our double-crop beans, it will be a great benefit to our overall farm average.

Corn stand in North Carolina in early June
Photo credit: XtremeAg

The wet week kept our planters shut down, so we focused on moving dirt around, filling and leveling one of our fields that needed some repair. It is this type of field work that is easy to put off for other things, but we have found that field work has a big ROI when it comes to improving yield.

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