Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Specialty Crops

My friend Ben in Iowa asked about growing white corn for Frito Lay type markets. My dear friend Dave in SW Indiana gave a really good response from his experience that explains in part his view in dealing with white corn.

"alfrotoxin is what we got docked for when white corn was plentiful...worked great here for 4 years, then as Bookmark stated we had to hunt for a market...At first buyers said we could always sell our white corn as yellow corn, if white corn market went down=not so...and aflotoxin was a big thing, test a trailer load and get a widley different show of damage each time, and that's the way it was...Aflotoxin varies, likes broken kernal, although we didn't have a problem meeting damage specs, 3% stress crack was normal here, but we put a lot of effort in meeting that...Not a problem but more work, some may not like that...40 cents a bushel is worth a lot more when yellow is 1.67 than 6.71...

Higher yellow corn prices makes a person rush harvest more to save ear drop and other yield loss...15 years ago the in thing for white corn was it was Non GMO...Be sure to ask a lot of questions...When they had the telephone question survey for specialty corn last year it didn't take them long to cut me off...I asked too many disappointing questions...If all suits you, get the answer to your questions on paper, on your contract, we were able to contract acres, not bushels, = big plus...

But get all important things written in the contract, you will probably be dealing with the firm that buys from the elevator altho you will never know it...The elevator will take care of themselves before ever thinking about what happens to you, and we had the best markets-elevators around, just that things don't always work out...180 degree plenum would usually dump 120 degree almost dry, important to let the hot corn sit for a day and cool it slow...

Seasons can make a difference in aflotoxin, broken kernals, and stress cracks too, 'here' there are never two seasons alike...We didn't want to have to separate our crop so we went all white corn for five years...We had it great for 3, COC wasn't the best idea either, should mention it was COC absolutely no till...

Ed said I was headed for a train wreck and it came to be true about half way into the fourth year, and hit hard in the fifth when white corn got to be the thing to do, and everybody done works if you have more questions."

My train wreck was a low yielding non GMO soybean I had on 170 acres last year. It didn't like drought stress and shucked a bunch of pods even though it was beautiful, dark green all summer. I got the $2 premium but it didn't pay for the extra chemical to control the resistant marestail and other weeds on that farm and it sure didn't cover the yield loss.

RR beans planted double crop a few weeks later yielded more and I didn't have near the expense in growing them. And, I had the wheat off the fields first for extra cash which paid even better.

We need to really watch the crops we plant and rotation of them and the chemicals used on them for top profit while maintaining and improving the farm.

Ben asked a real good question and got a real savvy response.



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