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      Early planting and planning are key to a high yield this crop season

      Early planting and planning are key to a high yield this crop season.

      Timing is everything when it comes to securing a good yield this crop season.

      With the price of corn at $4.50 a bushel, farmers will need to be creative and attentive to ensure a good profit.

      "When corn was eight dollars a bushel, everybody made money," said Tom Fullenkamp, President and CEO of Golden Furrow in Eldon. "When corn was six dollars a bushel, almost everybody made money. And now we're dealing with the reality of corn being $4.50, which is probably more in line of where we're going to be looking for years to come. With corn being there, you need to be sure you do everything right."

      That includes using split nitrogens, increasing yield by way of variable costs like seed and fertilizer and planning efficiently with fungicides and herbicides.

      "A plant that gets off fast and keeps growing will produce more corn than corn that starts slow and then takes off, so what you need to do is be sure you're doing everything right in all the small things," Fullenkamp said.

      Fullenkamp added he is slightly concerned by how much subsoil moisture there will be this year with the winter's snow. Many farmers are already behind on fall work, such as the application of nitrogen, so what they'll need for a strong start to the season is good spring rains. That will help early planting, which is one of the best indicators of a good yield.

      "One of the keys to a top yield is early planning and some of them are going to have to be putting fertilizer on and working fields and doing things when they should be planting," Fullenkamp said. "And again, that will affect their yield, so timing is everything."