Farmer Perspective: Growing Conventional Corn in Nebraska to Produce Yield and Return on Investment

I grew up on the family farm in south-central Nebraska. I had always planned on farming, and now I’m in my seventh year, working 1,500 acres of corn and soybeans.

John Driscoll Nebraska FarmerWe first started growing conventional corn probably four years ago. At the time, our seed dealer said, “Hey, I can sell you this seed a lot cheaper than I can traited corn, would you be interested?” And it sounded like a good idea. And after he explained the chemical program we would need and how to monitor for pests, it sounded like we could make some decent money on it. So we switched one-fourth of our acres the first year, and now we are just about 100 percent conventional.

This year, we swapped some of our acres to corn hybrids from the F2F Genetics NetworkTM. We placed them next the the conventional hybrids we have already been growing to see how they stack up against the competition. So far, it’s pretty evenly matched. It’s hard to guess right now what the yields will be, but they seem to be very comparable to the other hybrids we’ve planted.

On our conventional corn, our chemical plan isn’t much more complicated than what we run on traited corn. We take care of all our grass pre-emerge, and we lay our residuals down as well. This keeps our fields clean; we really haven’t had any weed issues. For insects, we run bifenthrin in the furrow to take care of any seedling pests. When we put on a fungicide at tassel,  we apply a dual-action insecticide there as well. Cost-wise, it’s very comparable to what we ran with traited corn.

It’s hard to say if price or yield is what weighs more heavily on my seed decision making. At the end of the day, I’m trying to produce yield. That's the number one factor for me with any hybrid. But if you can produce the same yields and pay less for the seed, that's a no brainer.

We made the decision to try the F2F Genetics hybrids at Farmer2Farmer back in December, where we got to talk to the people who were spearheading the actual breeding. It was nice to hear them explain why they selected the hybrids they did. To hear the person who sort of designed it tell why he picked it means a lot more than hearing a salesman tell you he thinks it will do well. And with F2F hybrids, we know that we’re getting new genetics—we aren’t just getting the same old thing in a different bag. 

The economical pricing also helped us make the decision. And it seemed like these hybrids could do as well as what we were already using. And at the end of the year, we’ll have data that tells us if it worked or not.

I think we should all be trying to put the best genetics we can in our fields. Those genetics are going to give us the most yield potential. They are the building block, and without good genetics, you won’t be able to grow your best crop. While higher prices may make us feel like we’re getting more in the bag, that isn’t always the case. 

 

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The views expressed in this article are the author's alone and not those of Farmer's Business Network, Inc., its affiliates or members.