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For long-time cotton farmers Tim and Tye Tindall, corn has added a new dimension to their Mississippi farming operation.“We’re striving to get on a half-and-half cotton/corn rotation," says Tim Tindall. "We think we’re seeing a pretty good yield increase with that program.”And while he says “Everyone talks about cotton going to 80 cents or better, if we can get 125-bushel corn, there’s not a lot of difference money-wise — and corn is so much easier to work with.”
Varieties for early harvest
“The 6314 is new for us and is a good early variety for dryland production,” Tim says. “The two Pioneer varieties are 118-day maturity. We planted them so we could get them harvested and out of the way before the main crop was ready. They’ve worked out well and we’re averaging in the high 130-bushel range.”
With good harvest weather, he says, they’ve averaged cutting about 10 truckloads a day.
“The best we’ve cut so far has been 193 bushels per acre, and we’re hoping to average 160 bushels to 170 bushels across all our acreage.
“Our best year was in 2007, when we averaged 145 bushels, but we’re expecting this year’s crop will be our best, despite the dry summer.”
He also wants to set a personal one-day record of 11,000 bushels. “I got close,” he says. “A day or so ago, I got 10,993 bushels, but just ran out of corn to cut where we were working and there wasn’t time to move to another field.”Corn was planted April 6-15, and he expected to be finished harvesting by the end of August.
The fertility program included Trisert-K+, a mix of nitrogen, potash, and sulfur, for a total of 150 units of nitrogen, 90 of potash, and 35 of phosphate.
“We treated all our seed with zinc. I’ve seen a lot of test data showing good results from that treatment, and the cost is relatively small. I think it has paid off for us.”
The Tindalls planted 700 acres of corn the first year, and lost 170 acres of it to wild hogs, which are “a major nuisance” in the area.
“We turned it in on insurance and got a settlement, but then it was too late to replant to corn, so we put it in cotton,” Tim recalls. “I had just sprayed the cotton with Staple to get rid of corn escapes, and the hogs came through again and cleaned out the corn escapes. If I had just waited another week, I could’ve saved that $6.40 per acre Staple application.
“The hogs are extremely destructive and can wipe out a field overnight. We and other area growers are trapping them, and a lot of them are hunted. We take them to a processor and we end up with a lot of sausage, pork chops and ribs. Contrary to what some folks think, they’re pretty good eating.”
Driving along Hwy. 404, which travels a twisty route through hills and trees, one would think there is little land suited to crops. But, Tim says, behind the trees, along the Sabougla Creek drainage area, there is more than 10,000 acres of crop fields. “But for the most part, you just can’t see them from the highway.”
Asked how many different fields they farm, he replies: “A lot! They’re spread out over a 20-mile to 25-mile radius, all the way to Calhoun City, Miss., and the backwaters of Grenada Lake on the north to Bellefontaine, Miss., on the south. The smallest field is about 13 acres, but a lot of them are large and contiguous, so we’ll have 400 acres to 450 acres in one area. We do a lot of equipment moving, but it’s something we’re used to and have learned to manage.”
This year, the Tindalls have 180 acres of soybeans, “the lowest acreage we’ve had in a while,” Tim says. “We have had as high as 900 acres. Like a lot of other people, 2009 was not a good soybean year for us.
“We started harvesting Labor Day and were averaging 50 bushels. We got to work just 2-1/2 days and then the rains started. We weren’t able to cut another soybean until October. A few of the late beans cut 50 bushels, but the Group IVs were ruined. We cut them this spring (he laughs) with an 8-row hipper — at least we got some organic matter out of them.
“This year, we planted Asgrow DP4888, a Roundup Ready late Group IV variety. It’s a good soybean that grows well in our clay soils, yields well, and is easy to manage. We hope to have them out by the latter part of October.
“In addition to our own work, I do some custom combining. It’s something I enjoy doing, helping other farmers, and it helps meet payments on the combine.”