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Rigdon paces country in A Non-Irrigated Division
By SEAN CLOUGHERTY
JARRETTSVILLE, Md. (Jan. 6, 2015) — With rain at just about the right time all season, Harrison Rigdon said he knew the corn crop would be pretty good, but was surprised to find out an entry for the National Corn Yield Contest was the best yield his family’s farm has ever had.
The entry, 353.4438 bushels per acre with Pioneer hybrid P1498AM1, also made Rigdon — who farms about 2,000 acres in Harford County and the upper Eastern Shore with his father John — the contest’s national winner in the A Non-Irrigated division.
John placed third in Maryland in the contest’s A No-till/Strip-Till Non-irrigated division with a 289 bushel per acre entry.
“We knew it was going to be pretty good, but I didn’t expect it to be that high,” Ridgon said “Overall, the corn this year was probably the best we ever had. We kept getting rain throughout the whole season. It just never got dry.”
Rigdon planted the entry on May 18 at a population of 37,000 seeds per acre. He had planted the hybrid in previous season and said it matched up well with the the soil profile in the Pilesville, Md., field in which it was planted.
“We try to match the right hybrid with the right soil,” he said. “If you don’t it can limit you.”
Planting speed and seed depth matter too, Rigdon said.
He plants at 2 1/2 miles per hour and at a seed depth of three inches, a little slower and deeper than a lot of farmers, he said, but “it seems to get a better stand that way.”
At planting, he said he used a starter fertilizer and applied Headline and Capture in-furrow for disease and insect protection.
He also used seed treated with a root growth stimulator.
Rigdon also pointed to six fertilizer applications spaced two to three weeks throughout the growing season as a yield-boosting factor, especially applications a week before and a week after tasseling.
“That seemed to give us a big jump in yield,” he said.
Rigdon said they treat their “contest corn” a little differently than the rest of their acres, using the contest as research trials as much as competition.
“We like to try new things and see if it would work across all of our corn acres.”
Another part of their research is going to the Commodity Classic, Feb. 26-28 in Phoenix to be recognized for the top yield and talking with growers around the country, hearing what works, and doesn’t work for them.
“That’s one of the things we look forward to,” he said.