Change is good. If you don’t believe it, just ask south Georgia corn producer Randy Dowdy, who had the highest national irrigated class yield of 372 bushels per acre this past year and also posted yields of 374 and 341 bushels per acre in the National Corn Growers Association Yield Contest.  

He also placed second nationally in 2011in two categories with yields of 364 and 352 bushels per acre. He planted Pioneer 2023 HR and 1814HR in 2011 and Pioneer 2023YHR in 2012. 

“The challenge is to change,” says Dowdy, who farms in Brooks County, Ga. “I would not have made these yields without God’s favor and if I was not willing to try something new.”

Dowdy, who reviewed his production practices at this year’s Georgia Corn Short Course in Tifton, asked those in attendance how many of them had tried something new this past year.

“How many of you saw positive results? For some, the verdict is still out, but at least you tried something. It’s easy to get in a rut. But one good thing about me being a new farmer is that I was hungry — I talked to the best growers, and I talked to people at the University of Georgia to try and find out what resources they had that would make me a better farmer, and I was willing to try new things.”

The biggest obstacle for many growers, says Dowdy, is to get out of your comfort zone and try something different from what your grandfather or your dad did or what you’ve been doing.

“But to do that, you’ve got to be willing to take a leap of faith and maybe spend a little bit more money. And with commodity prices where they are, now is the time to try,” he says.

The title of Dowdy’s presentation was “Professional Results in Daily Efforts — PRIDE.” “I take pride in what I do. I’m a small farmer, comparatively speaking, and I have to make every effort count.

“It’s not about just winning a contest, but maximizing return on investment.  I have to make as much money as I can with the small amount of acres that I have. But now my acres are increasing, and I might find out just how good a farmer I am, as well as a manager of the people I have and the equipment I use.” 

Dowdy also won the 2012 Georgia irrigated corn efficiency award with a $2.54 cost per bushel on those high yielding acres.

(To see an earlier story on the Randy Dowdy corn production scheme, see Georgia yield champ is student of growing corn).