Changing Equipment for Better Farming Results
28 Dec 2318 min 7 sec

Does your machinery match the methods for how you can best run your farm? Johnny Verell is making several changes on his Tennessee farm to increase efficiencies while producing better crops. He’s changing out his 20-inch planters for 30-inch units, which means he’s also changing out his corn heads and adjusting his sprayer routine.  Mr. Verell explains his equipment changes to XA’s Damian Mason. One big reason for the change: reduction of late season corn loss during sprayer treatments. 

Presented by Advanced Drainage Systems

Listen Here:

00:00 Why is Johnny Verell making equipment changes? And should you consider making some of the same equipment changes 00:05 for your farming operation moving into the new year? Welcome to Extreme Ag Cutting the Curve podcast, where you get a guaranteed return on investment of your time 00:17 as we cut your learning curve with the information you can apply to your farming operation immediately. 00:24 Extreme ag, we've already made the mistakes so you don't have to. Managing your farm's water resources is a critical component 00:32 to a successful and sustainable farming operation. Advanced drainage systems helps farmers just like you increase their yields up to 30% 00:42 with their technologically advanced water management products. Visit ad s to see 00:48 how they can keep your business flowing. Now here's your host, Damian Mason. Hey there. Welcome To another fantastic episode 00:56 of Extreme as cutting the curve. We're talking about equipment, you know, farm people love equipment. 01:00 Go to the Louisville Machinery Show and by golly they're walking around kicking the tires of some of that million dollar machinery. 01:06 And you know what, I like it too, but there's probably machinery changes you can make that don't cost a million dollars, 01:12 but there's machinery changes you should make 'cause it can make you more money. That's kind of the subject here with Johnny Rell, 01:18 Rell Farms, Jackson, Tennessee. He's done some things and he is gonna continue to do some things because to fit his farming operation, bigger yields, 01:28 more efficiency, those kinds of things. You said you wanted to cover this topic. You've got a whole laundry list 01:34 of changes you either did make or are going to make. So let's start with row spacing. I think that's where you want to go or planter, 01:40 right? We start with planter. Yeah, that's right. So, you know, I don't know, four or five years ago we made a transition 01:45 and we actually went to 15 inch corn, 15 inch beans. And we realized that was real hard to manage, real hard to, it was a, it was a more of a challenge to harvest also. 01:54 So we decided to transition into twenties. 'cause where I'm at in west Tennessee, a lot of people raised 20 inch corn, 20 inch beans, 40 inch cotton 02:04 with the same planter. So we kind of transitioned that way and we've raised a little bit of cotton the last few years. 02:09 We're able to utilize the planter for that. And then, you know, it just seems like over time you're always thinking, you know, what can 02:15 I do to be more efficient? Throughout the year and this past year we bought a, a Simon Innovation lift for a sprayer 02:21 and we were trying to spray it on 20 inch corn. And so to do that, um, you know, the tires are about 17 inches wide. 02:30 The corn rows about 20 inches wide. We were having to run at angles and you know, you just, you you always run over plants 02:36 that you already raised ass full potential sometimes at tassel. Why do you wanna knock it out? 02:40 So we were talking last year, we were thirties for years. We were like, we're gonna go back to thirties. 02:45 And I mean, for us it is, it is a big reason is just being able to do more in-season applications. 02:51 More in-season timings when we want 'em. That's why we're making the change back. So I know that sounds like a lot, 02:57 but we had nothing really against the twenties as far as yield. It's just more about end season applications 03:02 and being able to get across the crop when I wanna, So 20 inch rows are is more of a thing in your part of the world. 03:09 My part of the world is 30 inch corn and 15 inch beans. So I was kind of, I guess this is kind of a newer thing since, uh, working with extreme ag 03:16 and guys like you, so the 20 inch, uh, going to 30, but that doesn't set, doesn't mesh up with your cotton at 40. 03:26 Does this mean you're gonna have to get an, uh, additional machine or are you gonna just No, I mean if, if we were to go back to cotton, uh, 03:32 we could plant 30 inch cotton if we want to. We still have one, uh, 20 inch planter that we kept to plant wheat beans, double crop beans, 03:40 because usually you need to have narrow row beans planted in gene, you just get a better yield. 03:45 The 30 inch beans in our area are, you know, seem to yield real good as long as they're planted april may, but later season. 03:52 So we're still gonna have that planter, but our core crop is going back to thirties and it's, it's all about being able to get across that crop. 04:00 Okay. So let's go by crop and let's talk about the reason why. Because you know, somebody, somebody that's a smaller scale, 04:07 you've got quite a few acres you cover that only has one planter. You, you have retained two or three. 04:14 We actually have three. We've got two new 30 inch planters here and then we've got, 04:18 we still kept one 20 inch planter also. Okay. So we go several acres. So it still works. Yeah. So just so that we know then, so 04:25 for corn you're gonna go to 30 inches and that's mostly about late season spraying because you were knocking, you had too much, uh, iron blight 04:33 as Kelly Garrett calls it, too much iron blight with your 20 inch rows later season sprayer application. Yes, 04:39 That's right. That's right. What about yield? Are you sacrificing yield going from 20 inch corn to 30 inch corn, do you think? 04:46 No, I, I think five, 10 years ago it seemed like we were getting higher yields off of narrow row. 04:52 The, the hybrids were responding to that better. It seems like now what we're seeing, especially in our trials that we're doing on the farm, 04:59 is the wider row spacing seems to be getting a better response. You know, we did a, at our uh, field trial 05:05 location this year where we had a field day, we did a skip row plot. We had like 15 plus bushel yield response off skip row. 05:13 And that wasn't something that we came up with. We actually went to another field day and saw that. So it just seems like the corn might be needing more 05:20 airflow, might be able to intercept more life this way, but it might be an airflow thing in the south is what it could be. 05:26 Yeah. And and that maybe wouldn't matter in a northern climate because of the, uh, cooler temperatures. But the, the, the population from TW 30 to 20, 05:35 you roughly maintained the retain the certain population. 'cause they're just, their spacing is a little bit more, 05:40 they're tighter on rows but they're further between plants. Yes, that that's 05:43 Right. And you know, the idea behind it was is utilizing more of the soil on twenties because you know, 05:48 a corn root zone is not that big when we go to thirties, you're, you're utilizing less of the soil 05:54 but it just seems like the corn needs the airflow, the corn needs, you know, some of those things that we have going on there, you know, 06:01 we've done videos about how we at a R three to R five application, you know, that's when we put out our nitrogen 06:07 with our sprayer with stream bars. Well that's another application where I'm having to run at an angle of how it was planted. 06:13 You get to run an angles in our area in West Tennessee where our fields are not square by any means, whether we plant the angle 06:19 or spray the angle, you run over a lot more corn. Yeah, it takes a lot longer to harvest. So it's just really about trying 06:25 to be more efficient in the field is what we're going for. Okay. Then you said soybeans, 06:29 you're gonna plant them on thirties. Uh, that was, you know, in my part of the world they go 30 corn, 15 beans, 06:38 you're gonna go 30 and 30. But then when you do your June and July seeding after the wheat comes off, you're gonna go to twenties. 06:47 I assume that's because it creates more canopy and protect some moisture from that hot Tennessee summer. That's right. This year we actually did some trials 06:54 where we planted some 15 inch wheat beans and some 30 inch wheat beans. We did not see a yield loss 07:01 by being on thirties as wheat beans. So even planted late we did not see it. But I'm gonna do that for a few years 07:06 before I go a hundred percent 30 inch. So we were actually have some 30 inch wheat beans. You saw it last year and when you were down here we do 07:14 plant double crop corn. So you know, I, I might have close to 3000 acres a wheat this year. 07:20 You know, seven, 800 of us probably gonna be double crop corn. So I'll utilize that 30 inch planter 07:25 behind the wheat there also. And incidentally, two things. If you ever listened to Chad, Matt 07:31 and Johnny what they call wheat beans, in case you're wondering if this is some new commodity that might be traded on the Chicago Board of Trade, 07:37 that means double crop following wheat, wheat corn and wheat beans means corn coming in, being planted. And generally your wheat comes off mid-June. 07:47 Yeah, usually by the 10th of June we're done, you know, 10 to 15th. So yeah, mid-June we're finished. 07:51 And you know, people are always amazed like how we can, you know, the soybeans is one thing, but the corn, we could plant 115 day corn 07:59 and it's still mature in October. You know, we're still able to get it to black layer and harvest it sometime in October. 08:05 But you know, when you came down about the 1st of July last year, that car was V six 08:10 and I think it was planted on like June 10th. Yeah. So in a 20 day period it's unreal. The growth stages you can get with the heat we have. 08:17 Yeah, you got the, as long as you get a little bit of moisture. And the one thing that I was struck by 08:22 because you don't do any tillage that that wheat stubble, uh, we were in a field and you just took your foot and scratched and you know, it didn't bring, 08:34 we didn't bring a shovel, we didn't bring a soil probe. You just took your boot and scratched and we got moisture like three quarters of an inch down. 08:40 That wheat stubble does hold some moisture, obviously it does weed suppression. It's a pretty nifty method, I gotta tell you. 08:46 Yeah. And it, it helps us with the moisture retention, the weed suppression, you know, just everything in general that we're looking for. So 08:53 Donna, you talked about your planter. So you're changing spacing and you had to change machines or did you keep the same old machines 09:00 and then make the adjustment? So We had precision planting, uh, aftermarket attachments on our planter to go. 09:07 We thought that was the best way to go at the time. 'cause we were doing two by two infer deers kind of transition to where they have a in-house version 09:14 of two by two and infer. And so we're switching a hundred percent to Deere and you know, it, it's more along the lines 09:21 of the compatibility. All of our information's being sent to a cloud-based program, 09:27 it's all gonna be on the John Deere site. So it, we were with Precision, you were sending some stuff through Deere, some stuff through precision that you had 09:34 to upload into Deere and sometimes they don't talk the best. So for us it's just more about when we start doing all these 09:40 trials where we do infer skips across the field or two by two skips across the field. I had that information instantly on my phone 09:48 so I can go back and see versus having to upload stuff later and pull stuff in. You know, it's, it's just all about being able 09:55 to get that data when I need it. So it's just, that's gonna be a big thing for us too going forward. 09:59 Uh, you and I recorded, I think it was a year ago that you took the two or maybe six months ago you took the two by two, uh, 10:06 input applicators off of your planters, um, before the 23 season. Is there, is, was 10:14 that the right decision? Are you going back? No, we're, we're staying So we're, I guess we're calling it two by two. 10:19 We were using a knife system before where it was actually knife and it in the ground a couple inches. 10:23 That was just for us, the soil type and a no-till condition. It was a real hard thing to pull, 10:29 wore the knives out really fast. Uh, so we're still gonna do two by two, we're just gonna dribble it on each side 10:34 of the row is how we're doing it. So for us that just seems to really work well. Our CDC at the level it is, we see it, we could seem 10:41 to get pretty good infiltration into the soil that way. So, you know, that's, I guess one of the few blessings of having a low CEC is you don't get everything bound up in 10:50 the top so it will kind of work its way down. Yeah, it gets infiltration. And the other reason I remember you took the two 10:56 by two off was you said your ground beats up the two by two. It's, it, it, it it it was by, 11:01 by the time you got across a few thousand acres, the you need to replace it and it held you up. Yeah. You know, you're, you're 11:08 already in a no-till environment. It takes a little horsepower to pull through that ground because it's tight and it's hard. 11:12 Yeah. And then you add basically two flathead screwdrivers on each side of a 24 row planter. 11:17 That's 48 screwdrivers that you're trying to drag through the ground, through The stubble, through the ground, 11:23 through the sand and maybe, yeah. Yeah. It, it's amazing that anything holds up like it does really. 11:29 Alright. Other planter changes? Any other planter changes that you're making? No, that's the big thing. You know, it's just, 11:36 it's just all about the eases ability. You know, one thing about going to 30 inch beans, we will reduce our population probably close to 30,000. 11:45 So there's a savings there. Um, the other reason we went to this, we actually took a 24 row, 20 inch planter 11:51 and we just went to a 24 30 inch planter. So we actually went up, you know, a third bigger, so we'll be able to cover more ground. 11:58 It's really about efficiency, being able to get over that ground as fast as we can. So, alright, so these equipment changes, you know, 12:05 the person listening to this, uh, is it things weren't bad, you're making these decisions pre proactively, is it 12:13 for money or just, uh, is it for money and yield or do you expect similar yields you just expect to be a little bit more streamlined? Yeah, 12:21 I, I think we'll be able to, you know, have a better ROI in many aspects. I think the efficiency will definitely be there. 12:27 The equipment, um, you know, a 12 row 30 inch header that's 30 foot, you know, costs about a third less than a 30 foot, 18 row, 12:37 20 inch header. So a lot of our equipment costs will come back down 'cause of this too. 12:41 So, you know, there's a lot of ways to look at it. It just really fits us. I mean for us, everybody, I won't say 70 plus percent 12:48 of the ground in armor area is on 20 inch. So, you know, there's a big demand for 20 inch headers, 20 inch planters. 12:54 But there is an additional cost when you start running, you know, 20 inch corn heads for sure. Okay, that's the next question. So 13:00 with the planter changes, you've gotta change out the heads that go in your combines. Yes. And and how many co how many, how many, how many? 13:05 Because the person listens might be like, I don't know how this makes sense now you gotta go and re retrofit all of your combine heads. 13:12 But was that gonna happen anyhow? Yeah, I mean we, we run used heads on our farm so we had some heads 13:18 that we were just gonna put this cell in the 20 inch heads and I've actually already bought several heads 13:22 through auction this year. I went to fold 12 row heads. So, you know, I, that's just kind of how we do that because the headers are so expensive. 13:29 I mean it's hard to leave a corn head can cost a couple hundred thousand now. So, you know, we still, we just still kind of play in 13:36 that market and like I said, we just went through auction and you know, kind of swapped out and it worked. So it's 13:41 Okay. So you bought, you buy a used 12 row now 30 inch heads versus what you had before? 13:48 Yeah, I had used uh, or I had 20 inch heads that I bought used. Um, just 'cause the cost is so high, you know, 13:54 those things really depreciate down and so I just did the same thing. We just sold those and I turned around 13:59 and bought some fold 12 row heads. And Your grain head doesn't need to change Change? No, no. It, 14:04 the soybean hitter does not carry either way, So. Got it. Are you making any other changes? 14:09 Okay, sprayer changes. You you, when we were there we talked about Simon innovation. You put a lift kit on your sprayers 14:14 and the, the things on the wheels that prevent crop damage. That's right. Also the, the technology 14:20 that helps monitor your flow more deliberately and accurately than just looking at a hose on the side of the tank. 14:26 You did that in 23, you're sticking with that in 24. That's right. And I mean I think that's what stemmed some of this. 14:32 We knew we wanted to do late season applications, which that allowed us to do, I think we wanted to do more. So I need to be able to go down those rows, you know, I need 14:40 to be able to spray the same direction as I planted. 'cause like I said, you burn a lot of time when you're running that angle 14:45 because where we are, you always have a real backwards turn or trees that you're turning into is something all the time. 14:51 So for us it was just that, you know, we, we might even probably have go to two lift kits this year because we run two sprayers last year we just had one 14:59 because you just never know. It's all about getting across that ground. Any other equipment changes that you're making for I guess 15:05 for streamlining and for money reasons in 24? Yeah, No, not really. I mean, you know the other thing all this is playing into 15:12 some of the new technology coming through Deere where you're gonna be able to, you know, basically the combines are gonna know where 15:18 to turn into each set of rows. The planter's gonna know where to go off of boundaries. So we're actually in the process of RTK 15:24 and all of our boundaries to get them exactly right so we can actually plant our headlands last. So we'll plant our in rows last, 15:32 we'll plant out in the middle first and then that way we'll plant our in rows last not run over those, but also the sprayer's gonna come in 15:38 and it's going to know exactly where to go through the field too. So this is all going for compaction reasons 15:44 and it's all about that efficiency. So, you know, when you, when you run three combines in corn and you go out there and you kind 15:50 of bust a field in three areas, nothing's worse than to have one or two rows of corn left. And on twenties it's very hard to see on twenties, 15:58 a wide and a narrow road. 'cause it all looks pretty narrow. So hopefully going to thirties, we're gonna be able 16:02 to really utilize some of this new technology that's out there to really make it to where when three combines come in, if 16:09 that first combine wants to come in and skip 16 or skip 24 rows. Yeah it can't, and the combines can run 16:15 and sink all the way across that field. I find it funny, you farm people, it's almost like, uh, this shameful thing that, uh, you, you left a row out there 16:23 that you gotta go and pick up a single row. It's, it's like, it's, it's it's uh, like they, they don't admit it. 16:29 They don't admit that they do it very regularly. Do they? These, these guys, it's uh, it's like they, oh that guy. 16:34 He's, he left a single row there, but I would never do that. Yeah, it always seems to be in the longest rows 16:38 of the field too, that you're having to clean up one or two rows so it's never in a quarter. So You're changing your planters, 16:44 you're changing your spacing. You already changed out the two by two on it. You're putting, uh, you're, you're putting uh, 16:51 another lift kit on your sprayer and you changed out your heads. Any other equipment changes? 16:55 No, that's the biggest thing for us right now. You're not gonna go crazy and start, uh, putting a bunch of tillage out there 17:01 because it seems to work well the way you do things right now on so on moisture, soil moisture retention, right? 17:07 That's right, that's right. And uh, I think that we're gonna leave it right there. That's equipment changes that jive RA's making for money 17:14 and for streamlining purposes on his farm. You know what, maybe there's equipment changes you should be making also that's why we're here is 17:21 to give you different ideas, different looks, different concepts and uh, how these guys look at running their business. 17:26 His name's Johnny Rell. We've got hundreds of videos just like this. Go and check them out. Thanks for being here. 17:31 Johnny Rell, you're awesome as you well know. Thank you. So next time this is extreme acts cutting the curve. 17:36 That's a wrap for this episode of Cutting the Curve, but there's plenty more. Check out Extreme Ag Farm where you can find past episodes, 17:44 instructional videos and articles to help you squeeze more profit outta your farm. 17:50 Cutting the curve is brought to you by Advanced Drainage Systems, the leader in agriculture, water management solutions.

Growers In This Video

See All Growers