Corn is Profitable These Days on Sheer Volume


Today we wrap up our visit with NC State Extension Corn Specialist Dr. Ron Heiniger about this year’s corn season.  While it was something of a disappointment that there wasn’t a documented 400 bu/a corn crop, there were some very high yields, and many other high points to the season.  While corn prices continue to be low, the one thing that allowed producers to be profitable was sheer volume:

“Yeah, that’s exactly right.  The only real tool a corn grower has against prices is volume.  He’s got a price-times-yield equals your check.  Since you can’t control that price, and it’s disappointing right now, particularly with this last crop report predicting a much larger yield than what they had been looking at, these prices aren’t going anywhere.  So, it boils down to making that volume and doing so effectively and efficiently.

“We’ve talked a lot about using thresholds, and understanding your crop needs, I think that’s all exactly right, it’s just now as we think about even higher volume, or getting even higher yields, we need to take that experience there with understanding thresholds, efficiently levels, and now sort of be proactive in that.  If not at threshold today, will you be there tomorrow, what’s going to happen down the road, here, and understanding the influences.  It is a matter of knowledge and education, learning from our experiences, that really makes…that’s human nature, how do we grow, how do we get better?  We learn from our experiences. 

“And I think that’s one thing we’ve got to learn from this experience, we’ve got to come to that next knowledge level, and how to grow a big corn crop.  And that knowledge is how next week’s weather is going to affect a particular field, what is the nitrogen level in this crop, how is this crop going to effectively use what’s there, is more needed?  That then helps us reach that yield in an effective way, that then helps us make money.  That, of course, is the goal of the exercise.”

Ron, what do we need to add, here?

“This has been a good conversation, I think this is the time of year where a grower thinks about what he’d done well, what was not accomplished, so this is a really good conversation to get us thinking.  Because, it is learning and growing that puts us on the right path and makes us profitable.”

Dr. Ron Heiniger, NC State Extension Corn Specialist.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.