Discover Stanly 2017-2018 - Page 24

Dustin Adcock, field crop and horticulture agent, said, “We’ve come a long way. We have improved the soil by no-till.” does 12. It used to be 10 feet wide, now it’s 30. The farmer used to space his rows 12 inches apart, now they’re half that distance. company to learn not only which yields the most, but also which handles stress (heat, drought, insects) the best. “We produce a better crop,” Furr agreed. “The biomass in the field really holds the moisture, breaks down and produces carbon and feeds the soil. It holds the soil (less erosion) and controls the weeds. I have produced 10-15 bushels of corn better than those without cover crops.” “Technology has come a long way. The computer uses GPS and cuts off the planter when I turn so I don’t waste seed. Using technology, on an 18-acre field where I used to put 18 tons of fertilizer, I learned I only needed 2 1/2 tons.” “Without GMOs (genetically modified organisms) we couldn’t feed the world.” Furr was the 2016 No-Till Corn Yield Winner, averaging 218.31 bushels per acre. “I graduated high school in 1976. A computer was a typewriter and now I have an app on my phone where I can drive around the boundary of a field and know how many acres are in the field.” His planter used to plant four rows. Now it “I have soil samples done every other year, doing it in zones and grids. It is costly, but it pays off. I pull tissue samples out of my corn so I will know what I need (for it to grow best).” Participant Ronnie Shoe observed, “It ain’t brain surgery, but it is pretty close.” Furr described his test plot where he is growing 24 varieties of corn with a seed The Ridgecrest farmer also discussed equipment costs. The tractor that he was using costs around $300,000 if bought new, the planter more than $100,000. “Farming is a big risk and a big debt. There’s also a lot of record keeping,” Furr concluded. The group’s last stop was Almond Farms run by third generation farmer Earl Almond. His family-owned farm dates back to the early 1900s and is number 14 registered out of the 3,900 farms listed in Stanly County. Blackberries (foreground) and Christmas trees (background) grow on the Almond farm. 24 Discover Stanly | 2017