Yadkin County farmer Kevin Matthews is known in the southeast for his out-of-the-box ideas and thinking that bring in big yields in both corn and soybeans. Matthews Family Farms manages over 1,000 acres in the Yadkin River Valley in both Yadkin and Forsyth Counties. Recently, at the North Carolina Commodities Conference Matthews shared some of his production practices:
“Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s pulling a rabbit out of a hat, it’s just hard, sound research, good cooperation with Dr. Heiniger and many other successful growers; David Hula (Charles City, VA), Randy Dowdy (Valdosta, Georgia), Steven Albracht (Hart, TX), a group of us that like to work together, Phillip Davis was instrumental in getting that group together. So, it’s basically putting everything in the hands of the Lord, and doing our part.”
Let’s talk about some of the different things that you do that are possibly a step away from what’s considered conventional production.
“Well, we’re going hard at irrigation as much as we can, we’re using SDI sub-surface drip so that makes a big difference, we’ve got to control the water. The biggest thing is that if conditions aren’t right, we park the planter. We’ve got to get that first item done correctly, and that seed-to-soil contact, Dr. Heiniger’s proved that, as well as many other university folks, and all us farmers know it, but we like to get acres done. But, fact is we sell bushels not acres, unless you’re in real estate.”
And I understand you’ve also done a little experimentation with irrigation?
“Yeah, we do quite a bit. We work in cooperation with Netafim out of Israel, we have those guys out on our farm, I’ll actually be in Israel in the near future, we’ll go and talk with those guys and learn how it’s done. They’re actually way ahead of us on the curve on corn production, so we’ve got to do some improving, but, yes, we do a lot of research.”
Let’s talk about some of your yields, looks like you’re carrying home four pieces of hardware here.
“Yeah, all of our yields are NCGA yields, we don’t do the NC one acre yields, but we use our NCGA entry for our one acre, and we were fortunate enough to hit 320, and 304, so we got into the 300 bushel area documented with everybody. Just very fortunate, very blessed.”
Alright, anything you’d like to add?
“Just take your time and do it right. You don’t get but one chance.”
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