Editor’s Note: ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’

cover_dec09By Carroll Smith

Even if you are not a Rolling Stones’ fan, you’ll probably recognize “You can’t always get what you want” as the first line of the chorus in the group’s famous song from 1969. Since its inception, many people have adopted the lyric as a mantra of sorts for many different situations in life.

Well, now it’s 2009 – 40 years later – and those same words can apply to Southern corn farmers. And, what they want, but can’t get right now, is $6+ a bushel corn – that was around a couple of years ago.

Farmers in the South, many of whom had never grown an ear of corn in their lives, went crazy over the grain, and corn acres across the region shot up from 1,920,000 in 2006 to 4,035,000 in 2007. Elevators were sweating the logistics of dealing with the monster crop, while farmers were scrambling around for information on growing corn in the South, which can differ from growing corn in the Midwest.

The amount of corn acres in the South has remained pretty high, even through 2009, although corn prices have not stayed at the attractive levels that started the “Southern Gold Rush” two years ago. The good news is, “December 2009 corn futures prices have been in an uptrend since the September low near $3.05 and are currently near $4.00 per bushel,” according to University of Missouri market analyst Melvin Brees. Be sure to check out his commentary on where this price trend may be going in his article on page 12.

The other good news comes in the form of increasingly advanced technology and fine tuned production practices. West Tennessee farmer Gerald Stephens describes his experience with the new hybrid technology – Genuity VT Triple PRO corn – on pages 8 and 9. The upside of this hybrid is an additional trait to control corn earworm. He reports an increase in yield with the hybrid, but he is most impressed with the increase in quality.

I invite you to peruse all of the articles in this month’s Corn South, and, in doing so, hopefully you can gather helpful information for 2010 and finish out the Rolling Stones’ chorus line on a positive note: “But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”

If you have comments, send them to Corn South, 5118 Park Ave., Suite 111, Memphis, Tenn., 38117. You may also call (800) 888-9784 or contact Lia Guthrie at lguthrie@onegrower.com or Carroll Smith at csmith@onegrower.com.

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