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The BigYield Spotlight – Burning Organic Corn

Landon Teal discusses our success with burning organic corn plots this year.

Listen to the BigYield.us team and Kyle Hill, Ag 1280 Farm Director, each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on Ag 1280 KDKD-AM. The segments air at 7:15 am and again at 12:15 pm.

This segment originally aired on August 9, 2017.

Audio Transcript

Kyle: Time once again for a BigYield Spotlight. I’m Kyle Hill, visiting with Landon Teal of BigYield.us. Welcome back.

Landon: Thank you Kyle.

Kyle: Today we’re talking organics and what you guys are doing in regards to organic crops. There is a huge organic movement out there isn’t there Landon?

Landon: Absolutely. Here in the last couple years we have had a huge organic movement and you see more and more people trying to test the waters to see if they can make organic work on there farm. Here at the research farm we have converted a few of our acres to try organic crops and see how we can manage these crops, and at a reasonable level for the farmer. In my opinion, it all comes down to management. With farming now, there is always a quick fix – you can spray on whatever you need to help the crop. In organics, you have to manage for that problem and be prepared and have a plan.

Kyle: What are some techniques you are using to help combat weeds?

Landon: We have gone back to the old method of burning. All that is is we have a tank mounted to a toolbar on a tractor and we drive the field and we are burning the weeds. In this process, we aren’t trying to actually burn the weeds, but trying to extract all the water from the plant cells, and in return the plant will end up drying up and also dying.

Kyle: What is the breakdown of cost on this compared to conventional chemicals?

Landon: We are using two different types of burners in our operation. One is our big broadcast burner, and we basically use that for a lot of our burn downs. We also have our row burner that we will drive in-between the rows. For our broadcast burner, it puts out about 1.2 million BTU’s per torch head. Our row burner puts out about 725,000 BTU’s per torch head. The broadcast burner uses about ten to fifteen gallons of propane per acre. The row burner uses about five to seven gallons per acre. We have to look at the price of propane. This year, we were getting propane at the cheapest around $0.99, but there towards the end we got it around $1.15. You just have to weigh your options there. In order to control your weeds with this method it all comes down to the speed. Both of these methods have different operating speeds. With the broadcast burner we have seen a lot of our success come from speeds of five to ten miles-per-hour. With the row burner we like to travel around five to seven miles-per-hour. Along with this it also depends on the size of the weed you are trying to kill. If you are trying to burn a field that has larger weeds, of course we have to drive slower speeds in order to get more contact and more heat on that plant. With smaller weeds we are able to drive faster and cover more ground.

Kyle: What success stories have you had using this method?

Landon: Just this last year we have seen a huge difference in some of our organic corn. We’ve been testing this method, we tried it last year, but this year we have seen a lot of great results. On one of our organic corn plots, the method we used was we worked the ground before we planted. After we worked the ground we planted the corn. Behind that, we used our broadcast burner just as the corn was starting to emerge, and some at the V1 to V2 stage. We used our broadcast burner, burned the entire plot. After that we cultivated two times. From there, we used our row burner. When we went through with the row burner the corn was about knee high, or at the V5 to V7 growth stage. With this process, just using those steps, we have seen huge leaps and bounds of difference.

Kyle: For anybody who has questions about broadcast burning, row burning, or any of the products and services you have available at BigYield Landon, how can they get ahold of you?

Landon: They can contact us online at www.BigYield.us or give us a call at 816-773-6096, or stop by the research farm there in Garden City. We have some farm tours starting to come up, those will be September 4th through 8th.

Kyle: We hope that folks listening will give you a call and set one of those tours up. Landon Teal, agronomist with BigYield. Good to visit with you today.

Landon: Thanks Kyle.

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