I recently visited with Mike Adkins, who will retire as farm manager of the Farm Science Review at the end of the year. Mike has seen a lot of agricultural change in a 43-year career at OSU. His job has allowed him to participate in new developments from the cutting-edge view of a university-owned farm operation.
So what tops his list as best agricultural improvement for cropping the farm’s more than 2,200 acres?
Fall applied herbicides, Adkins says. “In the early days we were pinched pretty tight to even buy inputs for the farm,” he says. “To be able to apply a season-long control with 2.4-D and various residual products has made a huge difference.”
Yields on the show’s non-demonstration farmland have steadily improved in the last 15 years or so, Adkins says. This year the corn has averaged 200 to 205 bushels per acre and soybeans have been around 47 bushels per acre. Demonstration plots have shorter season varieties and do not yield as well. This year a show-site yield of 175 bushels was very good, he says.
Of course the top factor, Adkins says is constantly improving the drainage. “If you can keep from drowning out those die-out holes that come with spring rains, you can save some bushels. You never have too much drainage.”
As for his favorite implement, It’s a 40-foot, three section roller that pushes under the large rocks that get pulled up with any kind of tillage on the farm. “It’s amazing what that roller will do. We have to use a 190 horse power front-wheel-assist tractor to pull it, but we run it on most of the bean ground. Exhibitors don’t appreciate it when their combine hits a rock in the demo fields.”
Look for more from Mike in the December issue.