#Plant24 Insights with Chris Weaver

Chris Weaver, 6th Gen GrowerIf you didn’t catch an X-Factor meeting this past spring, missed him at National Farm Machinery Show and Commodity Classic, we’re bringing Chris Weaver’s #plant24 insights to you.

As the old saying goes, March can come in like a lion and leave like a lamb—or vice versa. This year, Weaver says that we’re seeing that adage come to life for #Plant24.

The early warmth of March gave way to a dramatic cooldown, and a few extra weeks for he and his team to get things ready for planting season.

As the sixth-generation farmer of his family, combined with the experience and wisdom of 140 collective years of guidance from his dad and Uncle Tom, he’s willing to let his neighbors beat him to the field this spring…and every spring.

“Right now we’re getting our fertilizer out on the fields, we’re fixing ditches still, and a lot of guys are excited about getting in the field to start,” Weaver shares. “We’re not always the first ones out in the field, and we’re okay with that. What we try to do is look at the 10-to-30-day outlook and base our decisions off of the Farmer’s Almanac and forecasts.”

Preparation mode is still in full swing for the upcoming planting season that Weaver says is around a week away, with hopes of starting around the April 20-25 mark.
“We’ve invested a lot in planters over the years and the main reason for that is so we can always slow down and not rush through planting. We check every planter three times: Matt checks, then the John Deere service checks them, and I’m the last to check – that’s what I’ve been doing this week… scaring the neighbors into thinking that I’m planting,” he jokes, but adds a serious note, “I’m the last guy to check the planters because planting is where it all starts. If we’re not being perfect there, we’ll have issues all season long.”

Weaver says that he cringes when he hears guys talk about going over their planter the week before they’re ready to start. It’s a controllable preparation that will lead to success or failure he says, adding that their planters get worked on as soon as the team is done planting every spring, in addition to the preplant tune-ups. A successful growing season starts with the planter.

“I won’t ever be the first planter in the field in the spring. I don’t care what my neighbors are doing; my neighbor does not pay my bills, so I’m not influenced by what they are doing,” he says. “I want to focus on what I’m doing, and do it to the best of my ability, and that doesn’t usually align with being first.”

Beans Before Corn: A Strategic Choice
More paramount than the chicken and egg conundrum, Weaver says that beans before corn is a debatable decision for many farmers, but an answer he landed on with science.

For him the answer is simple, “The main reason is daylight and timing. We want to get the beans in as early as possible so that way we can maximize sunlight.”

Weathering the Weather
With the unpredictability of weather for #plant24 and beyond, Chris remains cautiously optimistic.

“I’m not as concerned about the drought. I’m still the old school guy that reads the Farmer’s Almanac,” he says with a chuckle. “I think we’re going to have lulls, but I think we are going to be okay here in our area this year. What I’m most concerned about is the severe weather. We’re in hurricane country and hurricanes will destroy a crop. There are 11 predicted for this year,” he says.

Yield Goals and Economic Realities
Lower commodity prices haven’t deterred Weaver – a farmer who has become known for his high-yield crop management. His program practices will remain.

“We’re still shooting for 200-bushel beans this year. Is it going to put as much in my pocket this year? Probably not. But you know, we need to shoot for the stars,” he says. “It’s a hard concept to grasp, but when we as farmers and ag companies start looking at soil and plant health… the two biggest drivers of yield…and stop focusing 100% of money, we end up profitable.”

Embracing Plant and Soil Health
That view has led Weaver to implement biology, humics, and sugars on the acres he farms and is passionate about using products that are safe for the environment and effective in boosting plant and soil health.

“We’re using fulvic to relieve stress. We figured out the stress relief part to get the 200-bushel beans. I just need rain,” he says. “It’s funny now to hear my dad and uncle, who thought I was going to bankrupt us using humics and sugars when I started in 2010, now ask if we’ve got the Carbon RX and Sweet Success on hand because they won’t spray without it.”

Weaver says that seeing is believing for his operation. The team has watched the brix levels in the crops they grow increase exponentially which has been a key factor in their reduction of inputs: fungicides and insecticides.

“The insects are going to our neighbor’s fields not ours,” he adds. “We’re pushing 30’s and 40’s in brix and what we learned was that by reaching 15 and higher, we could decrease our insecticides – that saved us money. The math is easy. What we save on insecticide alone, which costs us $8 with a two-quart/acre application, pays for the Sweet Success that only costs us $6. And what gets me so excited about Concept AgriTek is that I know Carbon RX is right for the soil. I know that Foliar K – a product Weaver’s operation has dubbed Purple Passion – is going to work, and BioHealth blows me away…now we’re using biology to fight disease.”

Planting season for corn and bean country is just getting underway, and there’s never been a better year to evaluate opportunities to reduce inputs while putting soil and plants to work. To learn more about the products the Weaver team won’t farm without, reach out to our agronomy team for a free consultation for your acres’ pain points. Whether our products fit your plan, or not, we’re just a phone call away and here to help.

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