Micro-managing Nutrients Plays Role in Large Corn Yield

Yesterday on Inside Agriculture we heard from David Hula of Renwood Farms in Charles City, Virginia about his record-breaking 2013 corn yield of almost 455 bu/a. That yield came from an irrigated farm, and even though there was more than adequate rain in the 2013 growing season, Hula says they used that irrigation for more than water application:

“We were getting adequate rainfall, and that makes a lot of folks think that it’s enough water. We noticed that the plants were needing fertilizer. We weren’t able to get out there and apply nutrients when we wanted so we used the irrigation system to apply the nutrients. We still applied about 9” of water on top of a wet year because we were spoon feeding the crop nutrients.”

Hula doesn’t deny that this particular crop got a great deal of TLC, but even so, it was profitable:

“I think every grower should take a piece of their farm and push the envelope from a cost and management standpoint and learn from it. It can be very profitable, we focus on dollars per bushel on what it costs to grow corn. Even at $4.50 corn the cost of production was still profitable when I was doing our high management.”

If Hula’s name sounds familiar, that’s because it is. This isn’t the first time Hula’s taken home the largest corn yield prize….we first talked to him about that in early 2012 for his 2011 yield:

“In 2007, we got into the high 300s. Then we had a long period until 2011 when we broke the 400 bushels into the 420s. This year it was the mid 400s.”

As far as a three-pete, Hula says his goal is consistency:

“One of the exciting things, is we were seeing consistent 500 bushel corn on the yield monitor. So we want to be able to duplicate things we do.”

And Hula feels his record-breaking 455 bu/a won’t stand for long:

“Someone is going to break 500. I don’t know if it will be us, but it is possible.”

Renwood Farms’ David Hula from Charles City, Virginia


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.

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