What is in this article?:
- For the Masseys: Four practices that bump yields, profits
- Grain bins and marketing
The Masseys have moved away from tilling at a 45-degree angle to the row, because it can create inconsistencies in the soil profile, which can impact planting efficiency and seeding rates the following spring.
DESPITE A rough start to the season, Ellington Massey and his son, Turner, had one of their best corn yields ever on their Mississippi farms.
Grain bins and marketing
Grain bins are an important part of the Massey’s grain operation, for marketing and to keep their one combine running. “We put a lot of hours on the combine, and we trade every two years,” Ellington says.
They have the capacity to store around 300,000 bushels of corn. With that much storage and drying capacity, they can begin harvesting corn early, at about 25 percent moisture. “We plant Group V soybeans, so by the time we get our corn harvested, we change heads and move right into the soybeans,” Ellington says.
Sometimes grain bins can offer an unexpected advantage. Last year, a local elevator put out a call for grain to load several barges at the river. The Masseys took them up on the offer. By the end of the day, 77 truckloads of corn had left the farm, and the following day, 65 truckloads.
Earlier in 2013, they locked in most of the high price that corn was offering. They use John Beasley, Beasley and Associates, Little Rock, Ark., to market their crops.
Good crops and good prices rarely occur in tandem, but they did this past season for Massey Planting Co.
“We saw more high-yield areas this past season than we’ve ever seen before,” Turner says. “We were seeing a lot of 220-bushel and 250-bushel yields — but once we got into the May-planted corn, yields went back down.”
Turner says weather, lower overall temperatures, and lower nighttime temperatures contributed to the higher early yields in early-planted corn. “Once we got into the May-planted corn, we were into the heat of the season and pollination.”
Next year will be a challenge, the Masseys say, with declining corn prices and uncertainty about input costs.
“We’re hoping fertilizer prices will come down,” Ellington says. “Recently, the price of nitrogen has been following the price of corn. With corn prices down 30 percent from a year ago, and natural gas still cheap, nitrogen prices also need to come down 30 percent.”