Soil samples are taken in the fall to determine the nutrient needs for corn the following year. They normally apply needed phosphorous and potassium in the fall. Overall, 200 units to 215 units of nitrogen are applied for a corn crop.

They also put down P and K and about 25 units of N applied at corn planting. They apply 50 pounds of ammonium sulfate and 100 pounds of urea after emergence the end of February and 100 pounds of urea applied about two weeks later.

“A fungicide is also applied to corn at about the tassel stage,” Johnathon says, either Headline or Quilt, to help protect the crop against southern rust or other diseases.

“Our corn yields can be over 200 bushels one year or they may be 160 bushels to 170 bushels the next, depending on how hot and dry the summer is,” Ricky says, adding that this year’s corn was planted in four different stages throughout March due to heavy rains that stalled planting. “We had some corn planted in early March that was tasseling in early May because of the warm April. Some other corn was still barely waist high then.”

Their wheat is normally planted in late October or early November following corn or soybean harvest.

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The Campbells like the value of the double-cropped wheat-beans, as well as early planted beans and corn. For example, 70-bushel wheat at $6.50 per bushel grosses $455 per acre, while 50-bushel soybeans at $12 grosses $600. That’s a total of $1,055 per acre. “You have lower input costs for wheat and soybeans,” Ricky Jr. says.

That doesn’t quite reach a gross return of $1,200 per acre from 200-bushel corn at $6 a bushel. But with high fertilizer costs and other inputs, a breakeven price that pushes $5 bushel or more may be needed, the Campbells say.

They look to information provided by Carol Pinnell-Alison, county agent, Franklin Parish, to help get the most out of their production system. “The LSU AgCenter has been helpful to us,” Ricky says. “We have learned to get more out of our corn, beans and wheat and not have to rely on cotton. We’ll still plant cotton on occasion after wheat. But in general, a corn, wheat and beans work better for us.”