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Lessons from 2021 growing season drive 2022 decisions

Finished with harvest, XtremeAg’s Kelly Garrett, Matt Miles, and Kevin Matthews turn their attention to applying this season’s key learnings as they make decisions for 2022.


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

We wrapped up harvest last week. It is the earliest we have finished, and I attribute a lot of it to the desiccation of soybeans we did this year. With significantly less mass on each plant, the combines were able to move faster through the beans, which allowed us to start on our corn sooner than usual. Overall, our yields are among the best ever. It has been a great year for our farm.

We are continuing to gather all the data from the yield trials we did for XtremeAg. In particular, we are excited to dive into the trial results for the stress mitigation products we used from Agricen, and Hefty Naturals, as well as FMC’s Xyway. We learned a lot this year when it comes to crop stress – and it seems like every year is bringing more crop stress. Our focus for the 2022 growing season will be on stress reduction, as we feel it will become more of an issue each season. 

Of course, stress reduction starts at planting time: Getting that seed placement exactly where you want it to promote fast and uniform emergence is key. We installed The Closer closing wheels and 2×2 application this year from Integrated Ag Solutions. It passed the eye-test with flying colors, and the yield data looks pretty good so far. 

The increased input costs mean we need to push anhydrous applications harder than usual this fall, and we are pushing out plant food at a record rate. 

There is still some corn in the area, but harvest is coming to an end for most of the farmers in our area of western Iowa. It’s a good thing as we had a winter preview last week when we woke up to a half-inch of snow on the ground. 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. 


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

As I write this, I am sitting a long way from my farm in Arkansas on a deer stand in west-central Kansas. November is normally our dead month in the South, and we have an end-of-season bow-hunting trip we take every year to unwind and have some fun after a tough season of work. After 100-plus-hour workweeks spent harvesting crops, doing fall fieldwork, and planting our wheat here in the Delta, we’ve earned a few days of vacation. All of our employees sacrifice so much family and personal time during the growing season; it is a joy to be able to give them the time off. 

Matt Miles plants peas
Photo credit: XtremeAg

I am pretty excited about the newest addition to our crop mix: yellow peas from Puris Foods. They are a high-protein pea that we can grow in the winter months and use as both a cover crop and cash crop. It is the best of both worlds. Our goal is to become even more of a sustainable farming operation by growing two crops on the same acre. We just planted them a few weeks ago, so we are crossing our fingers that they will show potential. Our XtremeAg group is always looking for new ways to get more out of our ground while helping the environment in the process. You never know what will prove to be a big benefit to your operation unless you give it a try.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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.

We have finished harvest earlier than ever. All our corn and soybeans are finally in the bin, and the 2021 growing season is a wrap. In working with our family we have learned several different and new management options that have resulted in us being able to significantly increase harvest efficiency this year. 

It also has helps that the harvest season weather has been very supportive this year compared with the last several years where we had to deal with hurricanes and flooding. But it is really the desiccation of our soybean crop that helped speed up things by nearly three weeks. That is just a huge advantage this time of year. We’ve all been talking a lot about desiccation this season because it is something you can really point to in terms of immediate ROI. We’ll talk more about the process and benefits, and a lot of other things in our year-end XtremeAg member webinar next month.

Kevin Matthews ripping with a John Deere tractor
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Another benefit of the early harvest is that we can plant more cover crops before winter, and we are able to get into the fields and rip around the wooded areas and headlands. The tree roots in those areas pull tremendous amounts of water and nutrients out of the field and the compaction from grain carts and heavy equipment reduces our yields significantly.

Kevin Matthews soil ripping close up
Photo credit: XtremeAg

While we are all done harvesting our fields, that doesn’t mean we are done harvesting as we will be back in the fields helping several neighbors finish up their season.

Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

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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