Cullman County farmer Ben Haynes wins state title for corn crop yield

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Ben Haynes and his award-winning corn crop (Photo courtesy of Eddie McGriff, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service)

CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. – Cullman County farmer Ben Haynes recently placed first in Alabama in the 2020 National Corn Growers Association yield contest. Ben’s yield of 266.4 bushels per acre was the top yield in the no-till non-irrigated category. 

Haynes, who is the president of the Cullman County Farmers Federation, said in a statement, “There is no silver bullet in making high yields. A key is protecting the soil from leaving us and washing away. Some of our land has been no-tilled for 40-plus years.” 

Alabama Cooperative Extension Service Northeast Alabama Regional Extension Agent Eddie McGriff told The Tribune that an average yield for dry land farming like Cullman County would be 150-180 bushels per acre.

McGriff added, though, “If you look at the growers up in northeast Alabama, they’re doing much better than even their counterparts and neighbors in other states. So they really do a good job, and we’ve had quite a few growers that averaged over 200 bushels in dry land this year.”

Haynes’ approach is not just a winning competitive strategy, it is preserving Alabama’s farmland. According to McGriff, no-till farming is a conservation-oriented practice involving the placement of cover crops in a field during the winter months between the periods for main crops, to enrich the soil and prevent the wind and water erosion that destroyed so much southern farmland prior to the development of modern farming techniques, and helped create the Dust Bowl crisis of the 1930s.

For the farmers

Haynes won his title using Pioneer brand 1847VYHR corn grain, known in the industry as a high-yield grain with good drought tolerance and stay-green (remaining healthy late into the growing season) potential.

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com