(Posted Fri. Nov 4th, 2011)

Nov. 4: Field Notes opened the farm gate this spring and provided followers with an inside look at the activities of several farmers from a variety of geographical areas. With corn harvest complete on his farm, we caught up with Illinois grower Tom Martin to review this year’s growing season and discuss what he plans to do this winter.


Martin assessed the year and decided that, overall, his corn crop performance exceeded his expectations.


“This year, we had a good outcome at harvest in this part of the world,” he said. “Personally, my corn yields were a little bit above average, in the 185 to 190 bushel per acre range. It was the first time in several years that we did not see many flooded out areas in our fields, so that definitely helped.”


He attributes much of his success to timing.


“On our farm, we got about 20 percent of our crop in during the first part of April and the rest went in the first ten days of May,” Martin explained. “From what I have heard, I think that we were able to get our crop in a little bit sooner than many around the country who had wetter conditions. By late June to early July, our entire crop was pollinating. Before the heat set in around July 1, our area benefitted from an optimal amount of rain and good subsoil moisture. The growth stage of the crop prior to the hit, combined with this subsoil moisture, helped our corn crop withstand the heat and dry conditions.”


He did say that, if not for the heat and drought, his crop may have fared better.


“I thought that we were looking at 200 bushel per acre yields, or possibly even better, for a while,” he said. “We probably lost about 20 or so bushels per acre to the dry conditions.”


Martin notes that, while harvest is complete, there will be plenty of work on his farm to occupy the winter months.


“We store a lot of our own grains, which we have to move in December, January and February,” he explained. “We clean our bins, work on our equipment and use specialized software to analyze almost every aspect of our farm. Right now, we are already starting planting for next year, by preparing the fields, working on drainage systems and continually educating ourselves on ways to improve our farm.”


For the full interview, click here.