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Discussion Board - Re: organic corn
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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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