We’ve all been conditioned to believe that the largest corn yields in the country come from an “I” state….Iowa, Illinois, Indiana….but that’s simply not the case. Year in and year out, David Hula, owner of Renwood Farms, near Charles City, Virginia has produced more corn per acre than his Midwestern brethren:
Hula: We’re just humbled that it could happen, it takes a lot of work, but it’s been a family project and we’ve been successful.
SFN: Let’s talk about some of the hybrids that you grow.
Hula: We traditionally grow a lot of Pioneer hybrids, some new numbers, and we still use some of the traditional numbers. One of the exciting ones this year was Pioneer 2088.
SFN: And you mentioned that you have a system. Let’s talk a little bit about your system.
Hula: We pay a lot of attention to the details from the planting to the seed, making sure that we get good, even emergence, then we follow an intensive fertility program, as well as irrigated program.
SFN: Now, let’s also discuss your yield numbers.
Hula: Well, for the last 10 years or so we’ve had a least a 300 bushel corn yield then 2007 we had a 385 bushel corn yield then, then last year we were pretty excited because we finally broke the 400 bushel barrier.
SFN: That is incredibly impressive. And I guess you’ve found what works.
Hula: Well, we’ve always looking to trying new things, new products, new practices, and I think by incorporating some of them into our system, is obviously paying big dividends.
SFN: Sounds like it. Now, guessing that you probably rotate your corn acres?
Hula: Yes, we typically rotation is corn, then we follow that with small grain no-till, and then we’ll double-crop behind the wheat with soybeans.
SFN: So, you don’t ever grow corn on corn, then?
Hula: Ah, we do have some areas that are continuously corn, because of the wildlife pressure. Deer seem to enjoy some of the soybeans we grow.
SFN: Pesky deer, they do like those soybeans. What are you rplans for 2012?
Hula: Well, we’re going to continue to evaluate some of the biological products that we’re using, and then we’ll also continue to look at the new variety selections we have from Pioneer.
SFN: What about the drought tolerant gene that they’re going to be testing in 2012, does that hold any interest for you?
Hula: Well, it sure would have paid big dividends in 2010, we had an on-farm average of 49 bushels, and this past year, we had a whole lot better crop, but Hurricane Irene kind of changed that idea for us. So, we’d be excited both in their dryland as well as their irrigated to see if we could be more efficient with the water we do get.