(Posted Mon. Apr 8th, 2013)
April 8: The National Corn Growers Association has launched its third season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.
Today, Field Notes meets Rob Korff, who farms in central Missouri. An active participant in state and national corn organizations, Korff serves his fellow farmers as an advocate for agriculture.
While planting was well underway at this time last year, he notes that planters are just beginning to roll in mid-Missouri.
“We have had a late spring this year, and the winter really held on, bringing quite a bit of snow in early March and rain after that,” Korff explained. “The fields have been wet and cold, unlike last year when it was already almost 90 degrees. Last year at this point, a lot of corn had already been planted. It just got dry enough that you see people out putting down anhydrous. There are a couple of corn planters running today, but not many.”
Korff then explained what anhydrous actually is and the role that it plays in corn farming.
“Farmers use anhydrous ammonia as a nitrogen source,” he said. “Corn is a grass, just like someone’s lawn at their house. It won’t be green and thrive if it isn’t fertilized with nitrogen. A legume, like a soybean, has the ability to naturally fix its own nitrogen, but corn cannot do that because it is a grass. So, we have to apply nitrogen to help corn grow well and improve yields.”
To listen to the full interview, click here.
Stay tuned over the coming weeks as Field Notes follows the growers who have opened their farms, families and communities up this year and meet the true faces of modern American agriculture.