Farming takes faith. Every single thing we put into the ground on our Nebraska farm is an investment and every single investment is a risk. This isn’t just a job; it’s our way of life. But it’s a way of life that depends on us making a profit.
Why We Diversified Into White Dent Corn
In our ever-changing world with rising input costs, it is crucial that we constantly consider diversification options to increase the revenue and profitability of our operation. Five years ago we diversified our commercial yellow corn and soybean operation by branching into a food grade corn product — white corn. White corn offers a premium on every bushel sold! The markets are unpredictable and out of our control. But picking products that offer a premium is 100% in our control!
Growing Food-Grade Corn — Challenges and Rewards
Premium products do require more diligent harvest planning and management, but we have found that planning ahead is absolutely worth it. Our white corn is stored in on-farm storage during harvest and then hauled to the grain elevator during the winter months. The elevators only accept white corn on certain days, but careful storage and hauling planning makes this an easy hurdle to jump.
Growing white corn hasn’t really been much different than growing yellow corn. We look for the same performance factors that we look for in yellow corn: yield, stalk strength, and standability. Here in south central Nebraska, wind is probably the biggest yield-affecting obstacle that we face each year, which is why we take stalk strength very seriously. Similar to yellow corn, we do what we can to break weed cycles whether it be applying corn herbicides to eliminate a tillage pass or utilizing a tillage pass to eliminate a spray pass.
White corn offers a premium on every bushel sold! The markets are unpredictable and out of our control. But picking products that offer a premium is 100% in our control!
White corn comes with a price premium, but does it yield well enough to even make a difference? YES, it absolutely does! Just like with yellow corn, good yields take diligent and thorough crop management. Serial scouting throughout the growing season and maintaining good plant health have to be priorities for high yields. Alleviating crop stress by applying fungicide and using timely irrigation passes are common practices for us to maintain high yields in both yellow and white corn.
Finding the Right White Dent Corn Variety
We will trial anything on our soil. We are known for planting large test plots and hosting field days for area farmers to hear from the experts about what is working on the soil in our area. Once a product proves itself in providing a return on investment, then we implement it into our operation. Pioneer has been a trailblazer for white corn, and we are continually impressed with their white corn genetics and performance. This year we are planting a white corn test plot to determine which Pioneer® brand white corn varieties yield best on our soil!
Diversifying into a new crop or product doesn’t have to be scary. Work closely with your local Pioneer representative and try one field. You can start small and let the seed prove itself to you before committing to a bigger change.
Diversifying into a new crop or product doesn’t have to be scary.
As generational farmers we want nothing more than to preserve and better our family farm for the next generation. Diversifying our operation is something that we believe in and something we have faith will carry our farm into future generations.