Owner: Aaron Woolard
Location: Missouri, USA
Type of Operation: Rice, soy beans, and corn
Year We Visited Aaron: 2012, as part of a USA Farm Study Tour
Aaron Woolard is an Albrecht-Kinsey consultant and farmer. He runs 105 ha of family land and leases 65, growing beans and rice. His beans yielded 4,300 kg/ha after the first Albrecht-Kinsey fertiliser application, an increase of 59%. Prior to that, in a good year, he had 2,700. His rice, almost ready for harvest, is flood irrigated. He is expecting 8,570 kg/ha, compared to the neighbours 7,050. He will also receive a milling margin of $600-$1,200/t for premium quality. His neighbour won’t. (2012 update: Aaron’s rice harvest is now complete. His best paddy did 11,090 kg/ha.)
Aaron is considering introducing a 78-day variety of maize in order to double-crop his land. The use of a superior fertiliser programme is critical to the success of that. The land here is really good quality with a TEC of 18-30; Aaron’s soyabean (following rice) soil test showed low N, S, P, Ca, Mg, K, B & Zn. Mn & Cu were good.
As with the other growers, these soil deficiencies are corrected pre-planting as far as the budget will allow. Lime costs $85 /ha applied and sulphur $50. Calcium is important to stimulate the microbes and his beans nodulate in 10 days. Fertiliser for rice cost $1,100 /ha.
Aaron has been using the Albrecht-Kinsey system for 6 years, but on one part of the property at a time, which is normal practice whether in USA or NZ. (That is, a full programme on a smaller area, compared with a budget-limited part-programme.)
Crop yields were “excellent” in year one, “phenomenal” in year two, last year was “best ever”, this year, “even better”. When Aaron first started, he was told corn wouldn't grow on that land, but he raised 8,500 kg/ha. They plant corn in April/May and harvest in September/October. (Aaron is going to try and double crop maize in one season.) He is paid an extra $220 /ha for his non-GMO beans that are exported to the Orient, and has not sprayed for two years.
“Americans don’t demand GE-free produce.” When asked why, he replied, “Because they’re stupid.” (Hopefully, an impending referendum in California on GM labelled food would prove Aaron wrong, but when the voting was over, it didn't - corporate spin prevailed.)
You can see Aaron's crop on the right hand and top side of the photo.