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Squeezing more yield out of the crop

XtremeAg’s Kelly Garrett, Matt Miles, and Kevin Matthews are down to the wire as they do what they can to squeeze every bit of yield out of their crop to take advantage of higher prices.

Kelly Garrett - Arion, Iowa

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

A successful crop requires water, sunlight, nutrients, and some luck. We have been lucky for the most part when it comes to weather this year. The first month after planting it looked like this was going to be a bad year as the crops really struggled. But just when it seemed the crop couldn’t take any more hot and dry weather, we would get a “million-dollar rain.” In the past week, we’ve received a combined inch of rain, and the temperatures have been in the mid-80s over the past few weeks. The corn looks pretty happy right now. I wish I could say the same thing for all the farmers in the Midwest this year. 

We have finished all of our fungicide passes in the last week. We used the opportunity to also deliver another dose of foliar nutrients that included K-Fuel and Finish Line from Nachurs as well as a PGR from AgXplore. We really stepped up the foliar applications this year, and it will be exciting to see what the ROI is on this crop. We have not seen any signs of disease this year.

We are continuing to push our sulfur-based plant food and biologicals through our Netafim drip system to keep the plants actively feeding. We also mixed urea and water-soluble potash with the plant food to make a complete fertilizer with N-P-K-S to run through the drip.

Farmer shopping in Target
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Finally, I’d like to apologize to the good people of Council Bluffs, Iowa, area for any rough skin that you may have had to endure last week. You see, we had some trouble finding a tote of magnesium sulfate to Y-drop on our contest corn, so we went to town last weekend and cleaned out every last bit of Epsom salt we could find in the local stores. After a few hours, we came home with 440 pounds of Epsom salt in 4-pound bags and made our own magnesium sulfate solution. Thank you, Tommy Roach, for the idea. 

Kelly Garrett's team making magnesium sulfate for their crops
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Matt Miles - McGehee, Arkansas

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

Matt Miles harvests his 2021 corn crop with a John Deere combine and John Deere tractor on a sunny day
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Well, it has finally begun: Corn harvest is underway. Moisture is still pretty high at 28%, but we have an August 15 contract that has to be filled, so we’re moving ahead as the clock is ticking. Despite all the adverse weather we had during pollination, the corn looks pretty good. If pollination would have gone as it should have, I believe we’d have had our best crop ever. The fields we have harvested to date are a little better than our five-year average. It blows my mind what can happen when you just put it in God’s hands.

Matt Miles dumps harvested corn from 2021
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Last week was a great week at the AgPhD field day in Baltic, South Dakota. Great to see the rest of the XtremeAg team! Since the pandemic, there hasn’t been a lot of learning opportunities, but there’s nothing more satisfying than being with other farmers and learning all you can about new techniques and technologies that will improve my farming operation. Brian and Darren Hefty and their staff put on a first-class show. There were so many farmers excited to be able to interact with their peers once again. 

Good luck to everyone as harvest gets closer. Let’s hope that prices are high, and yields are even higher.

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.

It is getting very dry in places around the farm and it will definitely have an effect on yield, taking some top-end yields down a bit in areas. Of course, some of our other fields have benefited from spot rainstorms over the last few weeks. 

We wrapped up our final applications of Veltyma and Revytek on corn and soybeans in the fields that were planted later in the spring. We plan on starting corn harvest in the next 10 to 14 days. Some others in the area will get rolling even sooner. 

Really enjoyed seeing the Nachurs and Precision Planting research work at PTI in Pontiac, Illinois, last week. We’ll share some of our experiences and information with members in the coming weeks.

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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