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Episode: 1
Great Yield Mystery

Last year was a banner year. Soybeans. Corn. Conditions didn’t seem to favor one more than the other – it was all good. So why then did one of Eggert County’s top producers fall alarmingly short of his yield goal? If it can happen to Gerald Fitzgerald it can happen to anyone. Unless his brother Darrell can figure out what happened, who’s to say it won’t? Use the information on this website – from the latest weekly podcast, to character descriptions and especially case files, to solve The Great Yield Mystery.

Field Goal

Episode: 3

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Welcome to Episode 3 of The Great Yield Mystery. For the best experience possible, please listen on your mobile device. You can subscribe via any of the channels included below.

Episode 3 Synopsis: Darrell Fitzgerald talks to his brother Gerald’s crop consultant and little-league football coach – Gary Indiana. Gary is in the middle of practice when he compares a good crop-health plan to a good football team.


Case files

Episode: 3
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Darrell’s Notes on Numbers

Weather. Not it.

I started with the most obvious possibility and ended up ruling it out. Which is unfortunate, since I hoped this thing would be as easy as: “It rained too much.” It didn’t. As I learned from Uncle Lewis and later a phone call with Gerald, last spring’s funky weather shouldn’t have played a role in the demise of my brother’s soybean yield.

After Gerald and Mother Nature, the entity that knows the most about every thing that touches a Fitzgerald acre is Gary, our crop consultant. I decided my next interview should be with the man responsible for the numbers that guide our operation.

After all, it was Gary who helped Gerald set the yield goal he couldn’t meet. My thinking is that maybe the goal was just too high. . . that last year’s corn yield made even the improbable seem possible.

This is what I was able to learn from Gary Indiana:

  • He’s confident the yield goal was achievable.
  • One of the reasons he’s so confident is the fact that Gerald always matches practice with his goal setting. (He makes the adjustments to his plan needed for an increased yield goal. As I had assumed.)
  • To create a yield goal, Gary pairs past performance with intended actions to predict an achievable goal, versus issuing a best-case-scenario number.
  • Gary has been a little weird about numbers lately. Even for him.

But here’s the most interesting thing to come out of my interview with Gary: he seems to have an opinion about what (or who) might be to blame for this. And it just might be the clue I need to solve this great mystery.

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Great Yield Mystery Episode Background

Gerald Fitzgerald

As long as anyone can remember, Gerald Fitzgerald has set the bar for successful farming in this community.

Gerald’s success reached legendary status in 2014 with the highest corn yield anyone can remember on his best field. Folks wondered if he was about to do the same when he turned that field from corn to soybeans in 2015.

But Gerald isn’t walking as tall this year as he was last. An open seat sits at the coffee shop each morning where local acre-owners compare notes, and one can only wonder if this local farm star will ever re-claim his previous perch atop the county yield statistics.

Great Yield Mystery Episode Background

Darrell Fitzgerald

Gerald may have been the quarterback of the Eggert East football team, but it was Darrell who played left tackle and made sure his brother’s blind side was protected.

Some things never change. While he no longer dons the pads to protect his brother, Darrell is as brotherly as any brother might be. That includes paying careful attention to his successful operation and making sure Gerald gets the right advice from the right people.

So when he saw his brother’s shoulders slump around harvest time, Darrell took action.

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