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While it might seem hard to believe, the no-tiller who grew the highest yields in the nation last year calls corn just a rotational crop. That’s because David Hula has a thriving soybean and small grains seed production business.
“Our emphasis is on small grains and soybeans and because of our seed restrictions, we have to rotate them out and get something else in there in the summertime,” the Charles City, Va., no-tiller says. “And here we’ve done so well with corn and I’m saying it’s a necessary evil.”
However, the farmland along the banks of the James River has some productive soils. Hula, who farms with his brother Johnny and father Stanley, says the soils may not be as fertile as Mississippi River bottomland, but they are not far behind.
In fact, the land in the historic area where colonists settled, Civil War battles were fought and U.S. President John Tyler lived produced irrigated corn yields of 385.6 bushels per acre to earn Hula first place in the National Corn Growers Association National Corn Yield Contest. Johnny Hula’s contest plot yielded 370 bushels per acre.
Beginning with Hula’s grandfather, corn and soybeans on the home farm have been continuously no-tilled for nearly 40 years. They began no-tilling small grains in 1986. Following are some things that Hula says have helped him push up the yield potential of corn.
Hula’s corn is either treated with Poncho or Cruiser seed treatments, and they also get a fungicide spray.