Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Soon the dirt will fly. In our shop we are busy modifying our anhydrous ammonia applicators to make them more accurate and just a bit more efficient. We've gone over every bearing, every hose, every connection to make sure there are no problems -- nothing to slow us down. Looking out the window of the shop I can see that the surface of the soil is drying off. It's still too wet underneath but with a few days of warm, dry sunshine that too will change.
The hardest part sometimes is the waiting. It's time to get dirty.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
- One bushel of corn weighs 56 pounds. That means U.S. farmers produce an average of more than 9,000 pounds of corn per acre. Walter Farms produces over 11,000 pounds of corns per acre.
- If U.S. farmers used crop production practices from 1931 to produce an amount of corn equivalent to the 2008 crop, it would require 490 million acres—an area more than 120 million acres larger than the state of Alaska. Instead in 2008 only about 86 million acres were needed.
- The U.S. produces about 40 percent of the world's corn – using only 20 percent of the total area harvested in the world.
- In 2011 Walter Farms will grow 99 million corn plants on its 3,000 acres of production.
- Individuals or families own 82 percent of corn farms. Another 6 percent are family-held corporations.
- Less than 15 percent of U.S. corn acres are irrigated. We use none.
- Farmers today produce 70 percent more corn per pound of fertilizer than as recently as the 1970s.
- Corn farmers have reduced total fertilizer use by 10 percent since 1980.
- According to the USDA, one acre of corn… removes about 8tons of carbon dioxide from the air in a growing season…at 180 bushels per acre produces enough oxygen to supply a year’s needs for 131 people.
- The corn grown on Walter Farms removes 48 million pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year and produces enough oxygen for roughly 400,000 people to breathe. At the same time it produces enough food and feed ingredients each year to feed a town of about 1,500 people.
- Corn production has marched steadily upward for decades while using fewer acres.
- American farmers produced the five largest corn crops in history during the past five years. Even after supplying food-makers, ranchers, ethanol producers and grain exporters, America will again be able to save 10 percent of this year’s harvest for the future.
- Farmers today grow five times as much corn as they did in the 1930s — on 20 percent less land. That is still 13 million acres, or 20,000 square miles, twice the size of Massachusetts.
- The yield per acre has skyrocketed from 24 bushels in 1931 to a national average of 154 now, or a six-fold gain.
- Walter Farms yield per acre is even higher. Now at nearly 200 bushels per acre, we have seen a steady average annual increase of about 1-2%. At the same time we have continued to reduce the fertilizer, fuel and chemical use needed to produce each year's crop.