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Using Your Tractor & Crop Talk

Discussion Board - Re: organic corn

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12-04-2012 06:35:39

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I was thinking sweet corn, if this is for grain.....

Last year regular corn you could get $8 a bu, so 8*130*4 is $4160 gross income on 4 acres.

Organic production with your numbers is 9*45*4 is $1620 gross.

Now, certainly one can get top yields with organic if one has been working at it and perfecting it. But, these numbers show the downside of trying to do organic production as a hobby and not getting it quite right. The learning curve....

The difficulty with organic field corn is finding a market. I can haul the regular $8 corn 1/2 mile to the local coop, organic corn I would need to haul 23 miles to the special buyer that deals in organic grains. Then they can pick times for delivery, and payment, and if they fill their needs they won't buy any more so it is a fickle market.... -That- would be the real expense and downside of trying to do organic for me...

You need to figure out your market, and if you really get a bonus price after all the extra expenses. On top of that converting an abandoned grass field to a corn field is a challenge to get the insects and fertility right within the organic limitations.

I understand this is a hobby, and the experience is worth more than the money one gets, and nothing at all wrong organic. Just use realistic numbers in your projections, and find your market, where you can sell the stuff, before you buy the seed.


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12-15-2012 14:45:58

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 Re: organic corn in reply to Paul, 12-04-2012 06:35:39  
Hey Paul,

Where are you finding 9 dollar organic corn?!? I paid $10.50 last year and $14.50 this year. I have 8300 hens for Organic Valley

With the drought, anyone who grew organic corn here and was a decent farmer matched what his neighbors did in conventional. My next door neighbor is conventional and he had entire fields of corn without an ear in it. He usually chopped half and shelled half. this year he chopped every acre and was looking for more. My organic corn did about 100 bu/a. On a regular year, my neighbors do much better - 180-200 bu/a. My best hope is around 140.

You are right that it's a steep learning curve. One poorly timed rotary hoeing or cultivating will make or break a crop.


As long as you can certify in writing that the ground has not seen commercial fertilizer or pesticides in the past three years, you can get certification on the ground. Find a local organic farmer and ask him to "rent" the ground. He can piggyback the ground onto his certification without much or any increase in cost of certification. He can also give you pointers on what to do to grow a good crop.
I'd get the ground plowed now and plant a rye cover crop if it's fit. Don't get too excited to get planted in the spring. I'd wait a week or two after your neighbors plant corn and plant the same day corn they did (organic seed, of course). This will minimize pollen drift as their corn will be past pollination when yours gets started.
If your ground has been in grass quite a few years, you should have it fairly easy the first year. There will not be much for annuals to fight. I had a CRP field that came out this past year. Spread a couple tons of chicken litter per acre, plowed it, and planted it. I didn't get into it with the hoe or a cultivator (planned to, but didn't get it done) and got 100 bu/a. Don't expect that the next year. You'll need to rotate to beans, wheat, back into hay, something other than corn. Corn on corn in organic is a very unsafe maneuver.

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