The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

August 23, 2013

Lake Crystal farmers pursuing top yields

One of six Midwestern farms involved in yield-building campaign

LAKE CRYSTAL — An inch of welcomed rain Thursday morning will push up the corn yields on the Lake Crystal farm of Matt and Luke Lantz. But even with this good growing season the brothers aren't going to hit an average yield they and other farmers hope will someday be routine: 300 bushels per acre.

The Lantz farm was the stop for a Midwest farm tour as part of a promotion to highlight farmers using the latest technology and agronomy techniques to push corn yields to their maximum.

"As farmers, we're always trying to better ourselves and increase our yields," Matt said.

The brothers are part of the Pursuit 300 campaign sponsored by Minnesota-based Mosaic company, the world's largest producer or phosphate and potash used in farm and other fertilizers. The Lake Crystal farm is one of six farms in six Midwestern states working with Mosaic agronomists, sharing experiences with blogs and aiming to eventually break the 300-bushel per acre barrier (pursuitof300.com).

On Thursday a giant Mosaic tour bus and caravan of vehicles were at the farm giving media tours.

Yields far higher than 300 bushels have been reached, but not routinely and often only by using high rates of nitrogen and sometimes irrigation. Minnesota's average corn yield last year was 166 bushels per acre, while the Lantzes generally average from 180 to 200 bushels per acre.

Luke said the push for more yield in a sustainable and economical fashion is the goal of all farmers. "We don't always have the opportunity to add acreage, but we can add bushels."

They believe the key to much higher yields lies with advanced genetics in seed and better using micronutrients on crops. "There's no Holy Grail. We need to look at micronutrients a lot more. But in the end Mother Nature plays the biggest role," Matt said.

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