Blackland Farm Managers Tour focuses on high yields

The 45th Blackland Farm Managers Tour drew a big crowd of 450 people to Circle Grove Seeds and Haslin Farms in Belhaven, N.C. Aug. 5. The Blackland tour is considered the preeminent  field day in North Carolina and this year the focus was primarily on achieving top yields.

In the morning session, North Carolina State University scientists discussed the importance of fertility, drainage and weed, disease and insect management to achieve top  yields. The need for soil sampling was emphasized while concern about stink bugs transferring from wheat to corn was addressed. In addition, ongoing concerns about palmer Amaranth and limited control options were discussed.

Guy Collins, North Carolina State University Extension cotton specialist, stressed the importance of variety selection to achieve top cotton yields and emphasized the importance of weed management. In addition, he pointed out the importance of understanding the efficiency of irrigation systems and proper irrigation management. Collins said it is critical to avoid complete depletion of soil moisture and a short-lived drought can have significant negative impacts on yield.

Jim Dunphy, North Carolina State University Extension soybean specialist, is conducting a maximum yield dryland soybean trial at Haslin Farms  where he is  examining the benefits of non-foliar yield enhancements, in furrow enhancements and seed treatments. In his comments at the field day, Dunphy said seed treatments do have a place in increasing soybean yields.

In the afternoon session, Ron Heiniger, North Carolina State University Extension cropping system specialist; and Dewey Lee, Extension grains agronomist with the University of Georgia talked about “mission impossible – achieving 500 bushel corn in North Carolina.” Both Heiniger and Lee stressed the importance of uniform emergence and the necessity of monitoring the crop every day to achieve top yields. Achieving 500 bushels per acre is a difficult task in North Carolina, but it is not “mission impossible.” Irrigation  is a must, both corn specialists emphasized.

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