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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.
Welcome to Episode 4 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.
This week on The Great Yield Mystery, Darrell Fitzgerald takes a trip into town to talk to Seed Boy. Seed Boy tells Darrell all about the traits in seed varieties Darrell’s brother Gerald planted last year – from high yield, to lots of branchiness, to white mold resistance.
What I learned from Seed Boy is that I still have a lot to learn about the intricacies of Gerald’s growing season.
Gary Indiana was pretty adamant I talked to Seed Boy about the variety planted on Gerald’s acreage and whether it had performed as advertised. And I see his point. There’s a lot riding on seed choice and folks around here are whispering that maybe Seed Boy’s product has become too much show, not enough grow.
I’m getting this sinking feeling I’m missing something. That feeling keeps me up at night. So I do what I always do when I can’t sleep these days – count the hours until hunting season. Or Google “yield-limiting factors for soybeans.”
I found out that up at the University of Wisconsin, they’ve done some research and written a paper on the “Top 10 Yield-Limiting Factors in Soybeans.” The first thing on their list is “Genetics and Variety Selection.” I’ve gathered the variety information from Seed Boy and have some homework to do. The folks up at UW, for instance, mention choosing later maturities can increase yield, but could also lead to harvest timeline problems, depending on how soon ’Ol Man Winter comes knocking.
Maybe reading the Seed Boy Seed Guide will help me get some sleep.
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.
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.