AuthorsDen.com  Join | Login 

     Popular! Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry
Where Authors and Readers come together!

Signed Bookstore | Authors | eBooks | Books | Stories | Articles | Poetry | Blogs | News | Events | Reviews | Videos | Success | Gold Members | Testimonials

Featured Authors: Stanley Ely, iWilliam Guy, iPeter Oszmann, iAnn Frailey, iCatriona King, iCheryl Carpinello, iCraig Hartpence, i
  Home > Business/Investing > Articles
Popular: Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry     

Jerry W. Engler

· Become a Fan
  Notify me of new titles
  added by this author.

· 164 titles
· 1,033 Reviews
· Share with Friends!
· Save to My Library
·
Member Since: Nov, 2006

   Sitemap
   My Blog
   Contact Author
   Read Reviews

Books
· Highly Embellished Truth & Some Poetry: Just Folks Three

· A Heartland Voice: Just Folks Two

· Just Folks: Earthy Tales of the Prairie Heartland


Short Stories
· The Hanging of the Greens

· Charmin' Carmen Finds His Soul

· Crank One Long For Central

· Oswald K. Underfoot finds a firefight treasure

· Anna Marie, You'll Be With Me

· Eddy Burnt By Harlan Medlam's Lucky Happy Birthday

· Bob-a-Long Sings a Diffferent Song

· A Flower Girl Sister Surprise

· The St. Louie Bird Call

· Wild Willy takes a bite out of Curley Red


Articles
· Conniving My Retirement

· Geo-referencing Soil pH for Liming

· Mexican Retriever, Huh

· A Fair Love Affair

· Well, There's a Power Struggle

· Author Youtubed

· Winter for the Birds

· Desperate Self-Definition Times for America

· Build a jail, never fail

· Depression Can Help


Poetry
· NightWake

· Mercy, My Own

· My Room

· Endure, Endure, and Endure

· Puppy Love Roast

· Dot Com

· Lamentation Comprehension

· Love Decision

· Icky Banaki Childhood Dreamland

· Corn Slumber

         More poetry...
News
· Jerry Engler's Just Folks now on Kindle

· Authors Galore

· Author Youtubed

· Combat Troops Reading Books

· Engler signs at state fair

· Book Distribution Increased

· Engler Guest Speaker

Jerry W. Engler, click here to update your web pages on AuthorsDen.

King Corn
By Jerry W. Engler
Last edited: Friday, November 06, 2009
Posted: Friday, November 06, 2009



Share    Print   Save  Become a Fan
Recent articles by
Jerry W. Engler

• Conniving My Retirement
• Geo-referencing Soil pH for Liming
• Mexican Retriever, Huh
• A Fair Love Affair
• Well, There's a Power Struggle
• Author Youtubed
• Winter for the Birds
           >> View all 47
This is one of the types of articles I typically do for the newspaper here, and also is representative of many articles done through my life as an agricultural writer and farm editor. It's talking about grains, chemicals used, genetics, soil types, etc., all pertinent to the technical knowledge of the people who operate the land, but notice that it's also written at a level that people in the general public can also get understanding from. That's typical in many cases now days--writing for two audiences, yet satisfying both. When I have written in publications more strictly for agricultural producers, it is assumed they already know much, and it may include more technical information.
This article illustrates how crop types and geography determine what people will grow.
My other main beat of coverage is in political stories, sitting through and interpreting long meetings much of the time.


 

 

 

 

 

 

King corn, the top crop of American agriculture, may have a tough time ever becoming the predominant grain grown in Marion County.

But, corn is a crop that can be used to illustrate modern choices faced by modern farmers in this area. What can these producers decide to do for next year in an era when crashing farm prices are following crashing Wall Street stock prices while all the costs of inputs, fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, seed, etc., stay high?

Last spring, Marion County producers could have been swept up in a renewed enthusiasm for growing corn. In July, the Kansas Agricultural Statistical Service had reported a modern record corn planting for the state of 4.1 million acres, a five percent increase over 2007, and the highest corn acreage in Kansas since 1936.

The Kansas Corn Growers Association was crediting this increase not only to good corn prices driven by demands for livestock feed and ethanol production, but also to newer corn hybrids. These hybrids come with genetic biotechnology enhancements for drought resistance, herbicide resistance and insect resistance. KCGA said these factors encourage corn growth on more acres. State corn acreage also has been increased forward by irrigation in Western Kansas and other areas.

Back in 2000, agricultural economists at Kansas State University were discussing possibilities that corn might supplant wheat as the top crop in Kansas crowding off both wheat and grain sorghum acreages.

By mid-October some of the early predictions of a surging corn crop had begun to dim, even though the crop still was very good, with KASS lowering its estimates to 3.8 million acres of corn to be harvested with a total yield of 493.2 million acres. Kansas was still tenth among the states in corn production.

KASS estimates for the sorghum grain harvest was at 209 million bushels, for soybeans at 115.2 million bushels, and for sunflowers at 310.8 million bushels. The wheat crop came in at 356 million bushels.

Even back in 1878, the very first year the Kansas State Board of Agriculture came out with a biennial report, the agency was analyzing whether an increase in wheat acreage could lead to a decrease in corn acreage. But corn acreage in 1878 still topped all other crops grown at 2.4 million acres.

Locally, the biggest advantage the renewed focus on better varieties of corn gives Marion County producers, is flexibility in their farm programs, said County Agricultural Extension Agent Rickey Roberts.

Roberts calls corn here, “a high risk, high potential reward kind of a crop.”

He said Marion County farmers were sharing in the general enthusiasm for planting more corn last spring because “economically we were at a historically high price for corn. It looked like a good opportunity for profit. But in the last 30 to 45 days with the declines in prices, a great deal of that enthusiasm has tanked.”

Roberts explained that all producers are aware they face a challenge with corn because of its high demand for inputs. It requires high fertilizer input and adequate rainfall. It leads to a quick make/break margin. “The decision for planting corn has to be tied very closely to its price.”

Facing this hard margin decision, Roberts said Marion County farmers also have to deal with the realization that they are on the very western margin of good corn growing country. Rainfall must be adequate, but a drier climate with more droughts can limit corn production here quickly.

An even more over-riding decision for producers here to face, he said, may be the quality of the land. Marion County is a countryside with only a few deeper-soiled creek valleys really suitable for growing corn while the big majority of the cropland is in thinner-soiled uplands, he said. This compares to soils further east in the corn belt where there are very deep soil profiles.

“So really,” Roberts said, “our soils are of a type where corn should generally only be grown in the bottoms. So much of our upland is not suitable for corn production that it becomes a very high risk crop. It’s also a pretty expensive crop to plant. Beans and milo are so much more likely to be reliable crops on these types of soils that it takes us back to needing really high prices to take the risk.

“The new genetics do help tremendously in making corn a more attractive crop. There’s no question of that.  But they don’t change the factor that we are dealing with thinner soils.

“The improved genetics also come at a cost. The new hybrid corn seed is not the cheapest thing around.”

Roberts said that when farmers are looking at planting increased acreages of a crop previously not grown in as high a quantity here, beans usually are chosen ahead of corn. He said soybeans can be more drought resistant, and they have a “locked-in herbicide advantage” because they have been genetically engineered for Roundup resistance. Roundup can be sprayed on soybeans to kill weeds without hurting the beans leaving “very clean fields.”

Soybeans are also a legume, utilizing bacteria to take nitrogen from the air to create nitrates for plant uptake, therefore cutting fertilizer out of the cost equation, he said.

Corn can be used to add flexibility and diversity to a farm program, Roberts said, particularly if a producer also raises cattle. He explained, “If it is too hot and dry for the corn to pollinate to make grain, it can generally be cut for silage to feed livestock.

“It can have high feed value. So, sometimes the decision on whether to plant corn has to directly be related to whether a farmer also raises livestock.

“I repeat, it’s a high risk, high reward type of a crop. And, we aren’t ever going to be able to change the kinds of soils we have here.

Copyright 2008, Hillsboro Free Press

 

Web Site Jerry W. Engler
f

Reader Reviews for "King Corn"


Want to review or comment on this article?
Click here to login!


Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!


Reviewed by Smita Tewari 11/6/2009
Though I live in India, which is mostly agrarian, I didn't know a thing about farming till I read this. Thank you.
Do visit my blog: www.smitaspoetry.blogspot.com
and leave a comment
Reviewed by Jeanette Cooper 11/6/2009
Jerry, I'm so used to reading novels that I immediately start looking for the conflict in the story. This is a news-worthy article that appears to be well researched.

We are a nation that depends upon farmers' crops, and if Marion County fails to grow the usual acrage as in the past, seems that might effect our markets and economy? And if the new hybrid corn seed is used (at greater expense) that also will effect the markets and economy? Worse still, will the farmers lose their shirts if this new high risk hybrid corn crop is a failure?

I was born and raised on a farm, but after all these years I've forgotten everything I knew about them. <grin>
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 11/6/2009
Thank you for sharing this informative article, Jerry. It is a lesson for me. Love and peace,

Regis
Reviewed by Cryssa C 11/6/2009
This is a little bit "drier" :~) of an article than I am used to reading from you... hee, hee... but it is easy to see you know what you are talking about and I must admit it made me smile to read it because it took me back to the days of my youth, when we would read my dad's farming/dairy/agriculture magazines...and it made me sad too... because I know that farming is a dying art.
Crystal

Books by
Jerry W. Engler



Highly Embellished Truth & Some Poetry: Just Folks Three

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..




Just Folks: Earthy Tales of the Prairie Heartland

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..




A Heartland Voice: Just Folks Two

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..


Popular
Business/Investing Articles
  1. Frank Sinatra & John Wayne Refused Dirty H
  2. Mediocrity Rules the Day
  3. The Power of QuickBooks
  4. Sean Connery Tells His Reason for Success
  5. New Minimum Wage: $70,000 per year
  6. The Easy Way To Acquire Your First Rental
  7. Schwarzenegger Used a James Bond Lifestyle
  8. Tips for Marketing Your Book this Holiday
  9. Schwarzenegger Paid for Cameron's Terminat
  10. Servant Leadership or Verse the Traditiona
  11. How To Avoid Personal Liability If your Sm
  12. Recession Clouds on the Horizon
  13. Business Cards by Sherry Bach
  14. Disney's Davy Crockett: Fess Parker's Busi
  15. The Emotional Aspects of Doing an Eviction
  16. How John Wayne Branded Himself
  17. The Ultimate Book for Freelancers
  18. Kim Kardashian & Elvis Presley's Twitter P
  19. How Edd 'Kookie' Byrnes Branded Himself
  20. King Corn

You can also search authors by alphabetical listing: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



Featured Authors | New to AuthorsDen? | Add AuthorsDen to your Site
Share AD with your friends | Need Help? | About us


Problem with this page?   Report it to AuthorsDen

AuthorsDen, Inc. All rights reserved.