Farming Progress: Kevin and Chad's Journey Towards Unlocking Maximum Yield
23 Oct 2311 min 55 sec

Damian talks with Kevin Matthews and Chad Henderson about where they think yield potential is and the limiting factors on their farms that are currently keeping them from getting there. 

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00:00 So we're talking about yield potential. Let's face it, we probably are nowhere close to what's up possibility, especially when it comes to corn. 00:07 Obviously American agriculture is all about big corn, big yields, but what is the maximum attainable? I've got two guys that are, shall I say, 00:15 experts in the field, Kevin Matthews and Chad Henderson coming out of the corn right here. And they're gonna talk to us about what is the maximum attainable yield, 00:23 what is the number, and what are the limiting factors that we're gonna eliminate to get there. All right. You and I talked off camera, Kevin, about Francis uh, 00:31 child's 442. 442 bushels. And that was years ago. Yeah, I was in high school. Okay, so 4, 4, 2 bushels. 00:39 We're nowhere close to that United States average this year. I think it's gonna be 1 75, 1 73, something like that. Yeah. 00:45 What's the limiting factor? More importantly, what's the, what do you think we can achieve? 00:49 I'm the limiting factor on my farm, no doubt, you know, but it's, uh, what can we achieve? You know, David Hula in, uh, Charles City, Virginia, 00:58 not far from my house. There about four wires from us. He's 600 plus bushels. Um, is 700 bushels the next number we're looking 01:07 At. Chad, what's the biggest yield average you've ever had for one of your contest plots? Uh, 01:12 3 55, 3 50. Buy what's the biggest handle for you? 3 85. 3 55. 3 85. 4 42 is out fair. And you're like, well man, we're getting close. You're still, 01:22 you're still 20 for some Yeah. 4 42. Yeah. And, and the thing is that, And just halfway to David and a minute. Yeah. 01:29 What's, what do you think's the maximum? I don't know. I mean, I really don't know. I mean, I mean, we owe a lot of, I'll tell you this. 01:36 Farmers owe a lot to just the seed companies and the genetics and things like that. Uh, um, so far they take us so far with a, with the yields. Okay. 01:45 Yeah. And then it's up to the, the equipment to take us another little bit further. And then it's up to the nutrients that we put out to take us a little bit 01:52 further. But we still don't know. I mean, we're dealing in a realm that's, we try to put enough fertility on it. Fertility, fertility. Well, 01:58 there's so many more variables. Fertility's like 15 or 20% of the puzzle. Yeah. You know, and we wanna think fertility's 85% of the puzzle and it's, 02:05 and so it's a lot of other things that, that has to take place. You know, this sun lat, it's, it's a lot has go. 02:10 And, and it's interesting you said about sunlight. We just talked with Temple a little bit ago. Here we are, we're recording this. Dear listener viewer. August of 2023, this summer, 02:18 we had impacted sunlight because of the Canadian fires. Did it really actually peel some of the yield off? I don't know. I don't think it did. I've, I've done a lot of reading on that. And, uh, 02:28 as I actually, the way the, the light raised, the refracture of them, they're claiming that they're not seeing that much. 02:35 When we look at our growing degree units and solar radiation that we track on our farm, 02:41 we was low in solar radiation and gdu in June, in May and June compared to normal. But we still got maximum sunlight. So, 02:52 So environmental we can't really control. And it turns out for that particular example, didn't probably set us back. Rain too much rain, not rain, locust, hail. I mean, you go through it. 03:02 He had hail. What's The on temperatures. Okay. That's A big one. Big, big one right there. All right. So what do you think this year is that you had hail? 03:11 What's the reason that you're gonna be off of peak this year? I still don't know what I'm doing. Yeah. 03:17 You think it's you? A hundred percent me, not, not rain, or I'm the one that planted it. That was my excuse. Well, I'm Sears, you know, I mean, and, 03:24 and you can always say, oh, I should have had better time, Larry. Well, well, nothing's perfect. And that's why we're farming. I mean, we're farming for, 03:30 for farm averages. Yeah. It's fun to do the contest, but the contest, let's talk about what they really are. Okay. That's our, 03:36 that's our research and development. Yeah. Okay. So farmers don't have research and development. We wait on the seed companies, we wait on fertility, we wait on new, 03:45 new planters or whatever to be your research and development. And you just take their word for it. That is better Now, most time it is better. 03:51 We have to agree with that. But we need to be more proactive in developing these things on our own farms. So there was a time when they thought running, 03:58 beating a four minute mile was just, it physically impossible. And then the guy from Britain challenged that and went out to to do it. 04:06 And then it becomes ludicrous. Like, why would they have ever thought that somehow that was just an impossibility? Maybe you say, well, if you beat a four minute mile, you're gonna die. Well, 04:13 that's crazy. So like, what, what's like, what would be the thing that would hold us back if probably all those above factors, but it's not like, it's not like we even have a number, like, you know, 04:23 these things four minute mile. You're not saying 500 bushels, 600 bushels, 700 bushels. 04:27 I don't think we can have a number. I don't think there's, I don't think you can have a number because it's all about the plant, 04:32 the right plant, the right hybrid plant at the right time. I mean, there's more than four RSS that go into that. 04:37 There's like 40 s to go into that to make it 600 bushel. Yeah. So you, you know, we always say that the limiting factor is us. 04:44 It's probably not genetics. Uh, Kelly Harris says that it's probably not genetic. No. Uh, we used to think playing fertility out there. 04:50 I've got a question if it's not genetics, um, and fertility, we used to fling all kinds of fertilizer out there. 04:57 Is it that we don't understand soil biology and work with it cooperatively as well as maybe we should. And we, 05:03 we worked against soil biology to our own detriment. I think what you just, that word you just brought up, I think that is a lot of our problem is we focus so much on soil biology 05:14 rather than plant physiology. Mm-hmm. And understanding the plant and you know Oh, No, understand the particular, the particular a though. Yeah, that's correct. 05:25 I mean, you know, so it's just not the plant. It's so many things. And, And you want, you know, we used to look at, you know, our, our micros, 05:33 our our macros, you know, and that was our main fertility. That's what we looked at. And we wanted the soil. 05:39 Right now we're learning how to balance it in the plant. Well now we're working with hormones. 05:43 We're identifying which hormone of the plant we need to have at a higher, you know, level than other times in the plant. When is that hormone needed? 05:53 So the science that we have now is amazing. And I think that is what's going to unlock the next yield gold, you know, And, and bring your farm. Just bringing your farm average up to 200 bushel, 06:06 205 bushel, 210 bushel, you know? 'cause it's all about the farm average and Profitability of 06:11 That and profit profitability of the farm Average. Is there a gr We made a huge leap in the 1930s when we started using hybridized corn. We went from like 35 bushels to boom, like in the next 10, 20 years. 06:20 It just went like, you know, gangbusters, are we gonna see another watershed moment like that where like something happens and the next five to 10 years, it's like, oh my 06:30 God's coming man. I think it's already been there. I think we've just, you know, we've swept it under the rug or whatever. 06:34 But it's been happening the same way the whole time. I mean, we've got it now. I mean, like you said, the, the nation average is going to be, 06:41 it's gonna be down at 1 73. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, Uh, when you're, when you're, uh, toward your twilight years when Danielle and Jackson are finally trying to say, 06:50 Hey dad, get outta the combine. You know what? You're, you're getting old. What's that number? What's that yield model gonna look like? 06:57 Uh, probably next year. So I don't know. I remember, I just remember it was in the, it was in the right at 2000 and I still have a picture of it that I 07:06 had on one of those little dial up cameras, you know, and I remember when the yield model first hit 200. Yeah. Yeah. 07:11 You know, and now, you know, it just hits 200. I mean, it just, it just hangs out at 200. Yeah. You know, in a, in a year. You know, I mean, 07:17 everybody's seen it, You know, 9 98, I mean, I, I remember it well we had, uh, some really good corn and uh, we did a yield check. They, 07:26 the extension agent come out and they measured it all off and it was like 197 bushel. I was really disappointed 'cause it didn't be 200, you know. 07:35 And he said, I'll never forget him saying that. He says Kevin and he said, um, for you to get to 200, you gotta have everything right. And said, uh, 07:44 a lot of senior farmers that's been doing it for years out there yet. So just expect it to take you a while. 07:50 I can remember when The next year I got it. I can remember when a seed company, and I ain't gonna name names that ain't know what we're going do here. 07:57 I remember a seed company me and said, well, you know, I'm just saying sure that your farm, you know, it's capable, it's capable of making 300. That's not insulting. 08:03 I just don't think it's capable of doing it. I don't think, I don't think that hybrid is capable. I said, 08:07 well maybe I need to change seed companies. Yep. So That's right. Be careful what you said. Be careful what you see. I had 08:13 Everyone told me in it, I mean we, they carried us a big er meeting at your lab. Everything. And uh, he said, if you want 150 to 170 bushel corn, 08:21 we got your genetics. I need to leave. I, I didn't want want. Yeah. I don't want 150 bushel cord. I wasn't, 08:28 I mean, this is years ago, but I'm like, that ain't, that Wasn't my goal. So, so you know what you talk about to round that all back, 08:33 what you talked about was you seen the leaps come through. Yes, sir. We seen one of the big leaps come through ours was when we bought a backend 08:39 planter. Mm-hmm. You know, in the early nineties we bought a backend planter. Well that planter was a plant cotton with. Yeah. I mean, 08:44 and we just started corn with it. We jumped 1520 bushel immediately we started side dressing corn. We jumped another 15 or 20 bushels immediately. And like you said, 08:52 I don't know where that next thing is. 'cause that's what you've asked us and we ain't answered it. I don't know where the next thing is a leap and jump again. 08:58 Actually, I love this topic because you just mentioned an equipment reason that you jumped 20 bushels and you mentioned a practice that you jumped 20 bushels. 09:05 You didn't mention seed technology. Triple Ahead of the Seed is so far ahead of when Francis Dun full 42, when David hit the 600, you know, when 4 42 was a record. 09:16 All of our seed company says there's 600 plus bushels of potential in that bag per acre in that bag. 09:21 What do we say? It starts degrading potential when you I'm Thinking they're saying they're right now. What? It's nine i i the eight or 900. 09:30 It's, it's essential deal. No. Right. I think we're gonna get outta here, but I just love the topic. You know, this is almost like, uh, this is almost like, did he just 09:37 Say he was gonna be 900? No. He's predicting, not saying I can do it on three acres. I want disc, I wanna disclaim that. Yeah. Three 09:44 Acres. Neither of you gave me a number on what that yield model's gonna look like when you're, uh, getting pushed out of the combine seat by Jackson and Danielle. 09:52 So it took me 10 years from now. Well, the, the, you know, I've seen four 40 on my monitor picking colon and uh, 10:02 seen it one time. I've not been able to replicate it. So that means I didn't know what I was doing. Um, seen a lot of 400 numbers low. Um, but what I would average, yeah, the average is what pays the bills. 10:15 When we cut the 3 85, we had some four thirties and all that in the field. But what I would like to see is everything that I've done, 10:23 I wanna see my children or any farmers next generation to make it better than we ever could have done. Uh, everything I've done, I want my kids to take it and make it a hundred percent better. 10:36 So I hope they take and see 800. I would love for them to see it. The potential's there. Hey, hey, 10:43 You were gotten told, you got told plain and clear by a person that knows your soil is just never going to be a valedictorian Mr. Henderson. Yep. So what? 10:52 But I'm real good at base hits. Like I'll I just chop one right in there. You know? So I mean, let's say we could improve our grow concrete. Can we, 10:59 we can grow concrete. So let's just say we can improve our, say that we could improve our farm average 30 bushel. Yep. 11:06 I I would be ecstatic. Yeah. You know, 'cause that would put us, put us up there where we was almost like a as state. Yep. Anyway, 11:14 I, I think you're gonna get there. His name's Chad Henderson and his name is Kevin Matthews. My name's Damian Mason talking about yield potential. And I think it's neat. 11:20 The two guys that are obviously high yield dudes that are doing really, really cool stuff also can't even give you a number where they really think that 11:26 yield's gonna be 10 and 20 years from now. But we all know there's probably another little big huge jump coming. And I think that that's the big takeaway there. So next time, 11:34 thanks for being here. Extreme mag, cutting the curve, extreme ag videos. Go to extreme Hundreds and hundreds of these you can share, 11:41 learn from. We welcome you to do that. Share em with somebody can benefit from it. Until next time, I'm Damien Mason coming at you from a cornfield with two guys talking about high 11:49 yields.

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