Owners: Keith Mayberry and Alan Below
Location: Missouri, USA
Type of Operation: Corn, beans, and cotton
Year We Visited Keith and Alan: 2012, as part of a USA Farm Study Tour
Cousins Keith Mayberry and Alan Below are third generation ‘croppers’, with some of their land being on the Albrecht-Kinsey programme for 30 years. Keith’s father and uncle signed on as Kinsey clients in the early 1980’s. Keith farms 1,330 ha and Alan 1,650. Keith grows corn, beans and cotton. Alan has an interest in a Cotton Gin, so cotton is his main crop. “We weren't making the kind of yields we are now until Neal Kinsey came along”.
When they started, a good corn yield was 11-11.3 /ha; they were making 8.5. In their first year with Neal, their yield went to 11.9. Now, it is consistently 13.6-17 t/ha. Last year was a flood year, resulting in planting 2-3 months late, but they still managed 9.0. This drought year will do at least 13.6 t/ha (Update: The harvest has now been completed, with the maize yielding 15,050-17,560 kg/ha, depending on the field.)
They don’t use any starter fertiliser. Compost is spread over 240 ha at 800 kg/ha each year, in rotation, the cost being $200/ha. DAP is used at 225-275 kg/ha, but since P is antagonistic to sulphur, S is applied when the phosphate reaches the upper limit.
A VERIS machine is used to find the strengths and weaknesses in each field. If K levels get too high, that can cost up to 4.4 t/ha in yield. Currently, the neighbour’s yield is behind by that amount. Keith’s current crop has had 12 mm of rain on it since planting, so irrigation is a must. Corn yields are measured in bushels, a volume measurement, and the standard weight being 56 lbs. Mayberry’s corn weighs 60-62 lbs/bushel.
The Mayberry's new fertiliser spreader.
Albrecht-Kinsey on the right, but not on the left.
Keith's current crop of corn.
When commenting on Albrecht-Kinsey fertility, Aaron Woolard had the last word. “It works every time. I haven’t seen it fail yet”.
Alan Below took on some new land. They called it “Disaster Farm” because it produced very little. Neal Kinsey was not happy, claiming the best he could do for them was 840 kg/ha of cotton lint, - “If you do what I say”. They made 835. The following year, they made 1,680 kg/ha of lint. The farm is now called “Miracle Farm”. Before Alan took over, that land was only producing 300 kg/ha.
Standard cotton yields are 1,120-1,230 kg/ha of lint. The Albrecht-Kinsey system produces 1,450-2,020kg.