In a year when many farmers would have found it easy to throw in the towel because of the extreme drought, two west Tennessee growers planted and harvested two crops — on the same piece of ground.

Tyler Parker, and his grandfather, Bill Woods, planted Asgrow AG2931 brand soybeans behind their DEKALB corn crop after an early, warm spring gave them an unusual opportunity to try to get two crops in the same season.

“This year, we started planting corn by March 21st,” Parker says. “Normally, we’re planting in late March or the first part of April.” With a conventional and no-till operation, Woods runs a turbo-till in the early spring to warm the ground. “It’s pretty minimal,” says Parker.

Having worked alongside his grandfather all his life, Parker didn’t waste any time heading to the farm after graduating from high school in 2011.

Woods Farms is 1,100 acres of mixed soil at Oakfield, Tenn., located just north of Jackson. The land gently rolls to a wide bottom where they planted the crops. Over 80 percent of the operation is irrigated. “This land has been irrigated since 1979 or earlier,” says Parker.

Despite his age, Parker placed third in the National Corn Growers Association 2011 Corn Yield Contest for producing 238.50 bushels per acre with DKC 64-69. His entries in the 2012 Corn Yield Contest include an impressive yield of more than 304 bushels per acre with DKC 67-57 brand. That exceeds the highest yield from Tennessee — over 287 bushels ­— entered in previous years, according to the National Corn Growers Association.

“We planted 100 acres of the 67-57 and about 500 acres each of the 66-97 and 64-69. It’s the first time we’re seeing over 300 bushels per acre,” says Parker. While it’s the first time planting the 66-97 and 67-57, Parker is impressed. 

“Our rep, Ty Parker from Monsanto, suggested them and both have top end power.” Seed populations were 38,000 for the 64-69 and 67-57.

Parker says Nutri-Link 8-27-0 plus zinc, a starter fertilizer, was applied thru the planter before the crop was coming up. From then on, irrigation became essential. “We started irrigating the last week in April. We had no rain in June at all and ran the irrigation 24 hours a day during the entire month.” 

Parker says the family is diligent about taking leaf samples and applying nutrients such as potash, boron, potassium and sulfur.  “We mixed our own blend of liquid fertilizer made of Nucleus 8-24-0 and Nucleus 0-0-21 13S and then applied it through the irrigation rig.”

Fertilizer was applied at knee-high stage. At the tasseling stage, fertilizers Coron 10-0-10-.5%, Coron 25-0-0 and Coron Fulbor were applied.

Parker says they experienced little disease problem and less pest pressure than other years. “We had very few corn earworms and Japanese beetles but really no disease problems because of the Avaris fungicide.”

By July 21st, the corn harvest began. With only Parker and his grandparents, they worked, alternately shelling corn and planting beans. On the non-irrigated ground, the drought definitely left its mark. 

“It was awful,” he notes. “The ears were deformed, and moisture ran 34 percent. We only yielded 74 bushels per acre. On the irrigated ground, our moisture ran between 19 and 26 percent.”

With such an early harvest, Parker and Woods lost no time moving to beans. “We planted beans the very next day, planting AG2931 on 85 acres of non-irrigated land and the rest on irrigated. This was the first time ever to double crop beans behind corn.”

With 70 days from planting to harvest, Parker expects to begin harvest by late October or early November. “We got quite a bit of rain in September. The plants are loaded and look really good,” says Parker. With a record-breaking yield on corn and late beans in the field, 2012 may just be a record year in more ways than one for Woods Farms.