By Harlen Persinger
When it comes to bin busting yields, consistency, excellent hybrid genetics and a timely scouting program form the backbone of success at Oak Valley Farms. A snapshot of last season's yields, speak for themselves.
In 2012, Eugene Steiger and his son, Paul, topped all producers across the Badger State, with 278.9 bushels per acre in the strip till non-irrigated category of the National Corn Growers Contest. That total followed a yield of 297.6 bushels per acre the previous year.
"That was no easy feat considering there was only 15 inches of moisture, we had some lengthy stretches without rain and high temperatures wilted corn plants," says Eugene, who farms near Bloomington.
Besides 560 acres of corn, the Steigers raise soybeans and hay on their 960 acres. During the past five years they have averaged 201 bushels of corn per acre on conventional and no-till ground.
Fertility pays dividends
The father and son team rely on soil testing and grid mapping when applying N, P, K and certain micronutrients. Normal rates per acre are 500 lbs of 46-0-0, 200 lbs of 0-0-61 with urea, 200 lbs of
18-46-0 with area, 200 lbs of 21-01-0-24S with urea and 3 lbs/ton of Agrotain DC with urea. They shoot for yields of 300 bushels per acre.
"We deep chisel in the fall, run duals on all the equipment and always stay off the fields when it's too wet," Eugene notes. "Our optimum planting date is between April 18 and 25."
Precision planting e sets and a 20-20 monitor were used on the contest entry, which measured 15 to 20 acres. Their hybrid of choice was DKC 5750 YGVT3 treated with Acceleron. Kernels were dropped at 42,000 plants per acre in 30-inch rows with a John Deere 1760 Conservation MaxEmerge II planter. The average final stand at harvest was 41,000 plants per acre.
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