Dodge County corn growers hold plot day
By Janet Kubat Willette
Date Modified: 09/20/2012 10:55 AM
WASIOJA TOWNSHIP, Minn. — Tall green stalks sporting long ears of corn were the backdrop for last week's gathering of the Dodge County Corn and Soybean Growers.
More than 60 farmers gathered to hear speakers, tour the plot and share a midday meal Sept. 6.
Twin Creek Farms hosted the tour at the county corn growers' main plot, located just off Highway 56 on the way to West Concord. Kevin and Bev Rohwer and their son, Will, are Twin Creek Farms. Kevin's father, Kenneth, is also involved.
Kenneth kept an area mowed in front of the plot all year so farmers could see the crop progressing and compare the 16 different hybrids side-by-side.
The plot is arranged so that each hybrid is planted eight rows across and about 1,200 feet long, said Kevin Rohwer. Signs are placed in the middle of the eight rows. The corn growers have three plots and only the top hybrids are featured in the main plot. Companies rotate hybrids into the main plot based on their performance in the county's grow-out plots.
The featured hybrids this year were from Producers Hybrids, Gold Country, Croplan, DeKalb, Mycogen, Channel, Wensman, Stine, Jung, Agrigold, Renk and Viking.
Seed company representatives talked up their hybrids, extolling their drought tolerance and suitability for corn-on-corn or corn-soybean rotations. Most were refuge in the bag hybrids.
Twin Creek Farms has hosted the plot at the same site for two years, Kevin Rohwer said. He receives the seed and gets to keep what he harvests. They host the plot so everybody can learn something, he said.
It takes extra time to plant the plot, which was done May 14, and extra time to harvest because everything coming out must be weighed.
Everyone was reluctant to guess on the yields coming forth from the plot, but one estimate was 190 to 200 bushels per acre plus.
"We lucked out. We got rain this year," Rohwer said.
Dale Busch, regional representative with the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, saw the evidence of growing season rain as he drove from his home near St. James to the field day.
"It got better as I drove this way," Busch said of the crops. The area received rains they didn't back in Watonwan County.
His rain gauge at home, five miles south of St. James, measured three inches of precipitation in July and two inches in August. North of St. James, farmers missed some of those rains.
In his immediate area, the crops look good, but some early dying is occurring and the corn is farther along. A neighbor of his has already harvested 400 to 500 acres of corn south of St. James, starting with corner rows on Aug. 31.
"I have never seen harvest this early," said Busch, who was an agricultural education teacher for 35 years in Tracy and St. James and has worked for the corn growers since 2001.
He figures farmers will do their early corn first and then switch to soybeans before going back after their later corn.
His neighbors' yields have been up, down and all over — "the monitors are just jumping like crazy in the combines," Busch said.
He's heard yields of 130 bushels per acre up to 170. Moisture reports are 23 percent to 25 percent.
Farmers tell him they can buy a lot of LP gas for drying at $8 corn, so rather than risk ear loss they are going out early.