Johnny’s Potentially Winning Wheat Strategy
19 Jan 2313 min 58 sec

You don’t think of western Tennessee as wheat country. Never the less, XA Affiliate Johnny Verell is bringing a competitive edge to the 2023 XtremeAg Wheat Wager. He takes his wheat very seriously -- something he admits the generations before him didn’t. But once he began treating wheat “like a real crop,” good things happened. Tune in to hear how Johnny maximizes yield and test weight by harvesting his wheat while it’s still wet — 25% moisture when the combines start rolling!

Presented by AgXplore

00:00 If you don't know what the wheat wager is you've obviously not been paying attention because all the guys have shot their promo videos telling you about how they're 00:06 bringing their A-game to the wheat wage or basically take a certain chunk of ground. I think it's about seven acres and you say if those 00:12 seven acres we're gonna we're a monitor them and we're gonna say how many bushels we got. It's very similar to the commodity group 00:18 yield competitions. But this is within extreme AG last year. Matt miles won the hardware. He picked up 121 bushel wheat down 00:27 in the Delta region of Arkansas. So this is not you might be saying wait a minute. I thought we was all about Kansas in North Dakota. Well a guy from Arkansas won't last year. 00:36 Welcome to extreme AGS cutting the curve more than just a podcast. It's the place for insights. You can apply immediately to your farm operation 00:45 for increased success this episode of cutting the curve is brought to you by AG Explorer. With Innovative products that improve fertilizer efficiency protect 00:54 yield and reduce stress. AG explore helps maximize field potential find out how AG Explorer can help you get more out of your crop at Ag 01:03 And now here's your host Damien Mason. Hey there welcome to another extreme AG cutting the curve episode. This is a 01:12 quick discussion with our friend Johnny varel. He is an extreme egg affiliate from Jackson Tennessee had look at my notes forgot the name. It's in 01:21 West Central, Tennessee. And he is participating this year's week wager. We're gonna find out wheat strategy we strategy and by the way, we're not going to release this 01:30 until after the other boys are already full on to their whole executing their wheat strategy. Otherwise, they might cheat. Johnny for real? What are you going to do to bring 01:39 home the hardware for the wage or first off? If you do I'll be one of your biggest fears, you know that I'll be over here plotting going. 01:48 Hey man the kittens. He got it. Anyway, what are you gonna do? I mean by so we're just gonna manage it like we always do we 01:55 try to make top-end weed every year. So basically just paying attention to the wheat crop as the year progresses and 02:02 Keep the disease out and keep the keep the nitrogen to the wheat. That's the big things that we're going to focus on. I got question for you. You know, I'm from Indiana and 02:11 we don't even matter when it comes to wheat. We produce some I was a very Farm kid. We used wheat as a means to get straw so that 02:20 we had bedding for our cattle and a place to take manure beginning July 4th because we Harvest our we usually 02:26 between July 4th and July 11th. It's my birthday. That's why I remember that and everybody every one of my birthdays. I was a wagon stacking straw 02:35 bales anyway, but you didn't do it because it was this huge crop Etc now guys use wheat as a reason to 02:45 To make a thing put drainage tile in during July August September before Harvest starts in my part of the world. 02:51 When you think we think of the plane States you think of those Caravans of combines starting in Texas going all up to Manitoba? You know what you don't think of you sure as 03:00 hell don't think of Tennessee when you think of wheat? You're not a weak State what's going on? 03:05 Well this I guess over time Farmers have started paying more attention and realizing that we can make some better better use of what we've been making up. We was always a secondary crop 03:14 to us. Like if we raise weight it was just to keep something from Washington away and back in the 2000s. We 03:20 started raising wheat for our true crop. And sign language for you, what like a true crop like actually put forth in there. So you say when I was a kid 03:29 my granddad and then when they would throw the weed out in the following maybe fertilize it once in the spring and if it made 40 50 bushels, 03:35 we were happy. So we really made this exact we recorded with we recorded with Chad and Temple 03:42 and they talked I didn't even need to be there. That's how much they just rambled on about wheat and the big point there was wheat is 03:51 never been treated love the way corn was right. We love corn. Oh man, we got there just you know hug the 03:57 stocks but we you said fling it on maybe throw some fertilizer on it comes spring let it goes down. Yeah. 04:05 The laws that turned green and December we were happy. No because we planted all the way through Thanksgiving. Sorry. So 04:11 you changed your whole wheat strategy and whether it's for height, like you said whether it's to win this competition with the guys or not, you look 04:20 at wheat strategy as now treat it like a real crop. So take me from Fall till till Harvest. Yeah, we usually start playing week the first 04:29 week of October maybe the second week October. We try to be finished in the month of October. So we do our wait a 04:35 little different. We don't use a drill. We we drew and wait for years. We actually broadcast our week now and just you know covered up 04:41 with one past system and cover it up with a one-pass system means yeah, like a Salford machine turbotel. Sometimes we have to go too fast. It's depending on 04:50 the residue and broadcast. What's the broadcasting method? spreader truck 04:57 Just like I put on fertilizer. Oh, it kind of goes back against, you know, people thinking that you gotta be precise and planting I'm not gonna say we don't give up some yield but for us we had a 05:06 we had a week drill that we were running five six seven days a year and we're setting there. So we just took some equipment. We already had on 05:12 the farm and started using it in the fall instead of just in the spring. Yeah. So essentially you said why 05:18 have a drill just for wheat that we use for, you know, not very much. So you're using like a fertilizer or something. That's right. So we're applying 05:27 our fertilizer weed at the same time in one pass. So it really didn't cause us to have an extra pass on our fertilized truck it just basically we were 05:36 having to go across the fertilizer that we had a drill or not. And I mean a lot of my neighbors still drill. We it looks good. Sometimes comes 05:42 up better than my broadcast week. But yeah you Incorporated in a little bit with this light tillage 05:48 would then then you sit back and wait and say Harvest and do nothing. Right? No. No, we've already so usually about a month later we put 05:57 Harborside since we've learned if we put out a herbicide program and the in the fall. It really doesn't 06:03 seem to affect the wheat like it does in the spring. Sometimes you do a herbicide program in the spring the weeds already too big you're going to put out a higher 06:09 rate. It's a lot harder on the wheat crop itself. So we try to do a fall Harbor cyber program. 06:15 And so and you got herbicide that's got residual in it because it needs to have soil staying power for a while. But then do you get into enough of a freeze winter 06:24 time that then everything goes dormant? Are you far enough South that? You don't really get into a full true dormancy. So we're gonna be like, we're 17 degrees 06:33 a couple days ago. I think we're gonna be in the 60s Thursday. So we get big swings our week. I'm not 06:39 gonna say ever goes true dormant. It will shut down for a week or two then it'll come back and that can be a pro and a con because sometimes it seems to outgrow some 06:48 of the week that stays dormant all the winter. But also in the spring we have been hit with our late season Frost or 06:54 late season freeze and really hurt the week too. Wait, that is something famous in extreme a 07:00 Kevin Matthews has made famous the term Easter freeze. Yeah. It's the Easter freeze. It's a tough one first. Usually every 07:09 year. We're on the borderline of getting hit by so 2007. We actually got we lost crop completely it already just headed out 07:18 and we actually got down and the teens and took the wheat crop out. So it it can happen and we've been we've been hurt a few times since then but never the whole 07:27 crop. So tell me about then strategy besides that so after herbicide, you did herbicide. Okay, you planted it 07:34 you fertilizer all that stuff happens in the fall. By the way, we were recording this at Christmas New Year's time dear listener. So 07:40 maybe some of the things might change as they need to between now and June Johnny told me in a previous episode you're harvest date roughly as 07:49 June 1st. That's right real close to June first. The first week of June is always when we're going to start easily. Okay. Take me then between now and 07:58 first week of June. I'll be Herbicide fungicide application in the spring usually in February early March, we'll put out 08:08 a another fungicide shot to keep the disease out of it. And then we used to put out several nitrogen applications to usually at 08:17 least two to three more nitrogen applications on the wheat. Basically, usually three more at least 08:24 two. But on this high-end weight we might have to put a third one out. You never know. I mean, yeah, you know, it's it's a little bit like the livestock 08:31 people that go to Lifestyle judges if it takes you another big huge dose of nitrogen, but you win a trophy that costs four dollars clearly. 08:40 It's worth it, right? That's right. That's right. And that's where this space here with them is a pretty unique thing. They're gonna take into account 08:46 Roi too. So you can spend a lot of money and really push that you and maybe you know be there one about 20 bushel, 08:52 but you actually lost money on it. So we don't share that again because I was being facetious and I know the listener understands that 08:58 but in honesty, there's always that thing of Yeah. Well, yeah, you won the county fair with your steer you got 14,000 investment ticket to 09:07 the Butcher and it's gonna sell for you know, about 20 a pound. So you just lost we're not doing that. We could go out here 09:15 and say yeah, we're getting 180 bushel wheat, but it cost us. Thousand dollars an acre to produce it. Yeah real numbers are 09:22 we're keeping up with those right? Yeah, they're real numbers Roi and and what we could put into Croton the best 09:28 return we can get and you know, also the county average our County averages not the best but we always make quite a 09:34 bit better than the county average. So I always try to look at that too and to see where we're sizing up for the county in the state also because 09:40 the state of Tennessee is not known for wheat just like you said earlier you got to get out, you know out west or for the north to get into the real. I didn't say it 09:49 just to bash on you and your tennesseeans. I also said that my States not known as it we put it out just we had a place to get straw for dairy cattle and a place to put manure. But 09:58 yeah, I definitely didn't think that there's I thought that of all the states that were even less wheaty than mine would be yours, but you're telling me no. Oh you got 10:07 some curvy ground you don't do it. You've been a week you've been weak for but when you were to a kid, right, that's right. That's right. 10:15 Something really we started when we got out the cotton and the late 2000s there. We kind of transitioned into 10:21 weight. We had some before that but we might have a hundred acres or something like that every year. It was never never a real 10:27 crop for us. And so we just kind of transitioned over time and we're in our area where we can really raise weight. I'm probably about 95% of 10:33 the ground. We we grow crop. So on your wheat strategy for the wheat challenge The Wager as it were 10:42 anything different than you would then you're using you might just put a touch more fertility to it anything else right now, that's all day. It's just 10:51 really look at the crop. I've got a crop consultant that works with me on my way and we'll just kind of look at it at 10:57 a week by week basis there to see what it needs but actually and a little more nitrogen to see how that plays 11:03 all for us. I've been in Memphis in July. Um, so by then your wheat would already be harvested. I've been in Memphis where I thought I needed scuba gear because it 11:13 was almost like breathing underwater. Is that humid? I thought oh my God, this is not is the old thing ain't 11:19 the heat is humidity. Is your wheat pretty well done by the time it becomes gross with this whole 90 90 11:26 degree temperatures and 95% humidity. If you like to about the middle of June, you're gonna run into that and it's hard to get a soybean crop 11:35 up then just because it's so hot. You can really run into some major moisture issues getting that crop up. So that's another thing we're gonna do is probably harvest the wheat a 11:44 little early too on high moisture side. Yeah, so you talked about that in a previous episode you you're not against going out and record you'll you'll harvest 11:53 wheat, even if it needs it to run through the grain dryer, which is something that's not really done in most 11:59 of the country. That's right. That's right. We try to we try to start as early as we can. We really try to harvest our whole wheat cropping about six seven days. Okay start to 12:08 the time we finish got it you don't you usually your week gets done before you get into heavy disease pressures that what I'm understanding. No, I mean we have to 12:17 put a couple of fungicides out on the way throughout the growing season, but usually is in the spring February March, 12:23 we start putting out the first shot and then we definitely have to put out a shot on the when you get the head emerges for 12:29 the head scan. Throughout it anything else. I need to know about your we your wheat strategy for wheat wager 2023. 12:37 I don't guess you got it if you got a few proprietary Secrets keep them to yourself. 12:41 That's what we're not there. So. we're really farmer. He's an extreme AG affiliate. We're happy to have him here. You'll be hearing more from him as I like as I connect 12:53 with him through the year. We got all kinds of good stuff to share and and I've got plenty of topics rolling in my 12:59 head because he's a sharp dude and he can share stuff with you if you got anything from this. I know you did. 13:05 Take this episode and share it take other episodes and share it. There are so many awesome. I mean we've recorded like 200 of these things and share them around with people 13:14 that can glean something from them because our experiences are meant for your for your Enlightenment and 13:20 more importantly for your professional advancement on your farming operations. So thanks for being here my friend. Thank you. Till next time on Day mason this extreme eggs. Thanks 13:30 for listening to another edition of cutting the curve for more information that you can apply to your farm operation. Visit extreme Are 13:39 your crop stressed out AG explore as you covered with a full line of products to help protect your crop from environmental stressors such as cold and wet or 13:48 heat and drought check out and start protecting your yields and profit.

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