The 3rd Secret The Corn King Shared With Us

3rd Thing

Happy Wednesday! Monday we released a brand new podcast that has been blowing up & getting an insane amount of downloads.  So are you wondering what it’s about?  We shared Five Secrets that Francis Childs used to increase his yields and grow a WORLD RECORD corn crop.  Learning from as he lived his life wide open was truly a blessing and it’s an honor to share the secrets he gave us.

Today were spilling secret #3 Francis shared with us which is have a willingness to change.  We often run across people who have such a difficult time with this.

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Several years ago a client of ours shared a story about a neighbor who perfectly illustrated this story.  The neighbor was testing their soybean population the took the first step (secret #2) and ran studies checking out soybean population.  The neighbors were still using a population of 240,000 plants per acre.  After taking the suggestion of running tests they started at 90,000 and they ran population studies at 90, 100, 110, 120, 130,000 ect all the way up  to 240,00 ppa. In their area, in their fields, in their own studies, their number one yield, not their number one money maker but their number one yield was it 130,000 plants per acre. Here’s the kicker though…the guy that ran the study proceeded to do the CRAZIEST thing.  He decided that since the number one yield was at 130,000 plants per acre that they would cut back and plant at 185,000 plants per acre.

make the change

That leaves me scratching my head. He studied, he learned, he knew and yet the neighbor don’t do what was best because he couldn’t bring himself to make the change. So yes, it is important that we always study. However, it’s EQUALLY It is important that after we study we make tweaks from what we learn.  It is important that we try new things on a yearly basis. When we see what happens in trials, then we have to be willing to make changes!  I realized that old habits die so hard. I understand “this is the way we’ve always done it or the way that dad did it or maybe the way that grandpa did it!  Sometimes what we do it deeply ingrained in us. Yet sometimes the practices that we’ve hung onto for generations are the thing that’s our limiting factor.

It’s always interesting to me to see how things in ag have changed. We all understand technology is important. Everyone is using a different planter than what grandpa did. Everyone is using a different tractor than what grandpa did.  No one is using the same hybrids that grandpa did, especially considering that grandpa probably started his farming career by getting some ear corn out of the crib, picking the best ears by hand, shelling them off and planting that seed. I daresay that no one reading this blog is in the process right now of going to the corn crib to pick up some ears to go plant.  Why is it we embrace those changes but not changes in fertility or N management?  Why do we resist change in areas that can make a HUGE difference.  Today I just want to encourage everyone to not only study but also be willing to make the change!

Be sure to check back to the blog this week to discover the other two secrets!  Or hear them right now on the podcast at

The 2nd Secret The Corn King Taught Us

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Happy Tuesday! Yesterday we released a brand new podcast sharing five secrets that we learned from Francis Childs to increase yields.  Learning from him as he was on a quest to be the fastest and the best was truly incredible.

always study.

The second thing that we learned from Francis was to always study. So often in ag we get in the habit of doing something and we just don’t ever stop. For instance, maybe we’ve been using anhydrous for the last 40 years, maybe we’ve always used anhydrous, we don’t remember not using it. So we just do it year in & year out. It is our mindset that we cannot NOT do whatever “it” is. Francis was an anhydrous user early on but Francis was always studying. One of the studies that he ran was he started comparing using nh3 to using 28 or 32. He ran several multiyear studies in the same fields to see what would happen.

Another thing Francis studied was starter fertilizer for years and years and years. (like over 15 plus years of testing)  He tested 4-10-10 and then he compared it to 3-18-18 to see how that worked out.  He was always testing different products from seed Germination aids to pieces of tillage equipment.  Even if he had always used one certain brand of tillage equipment he would still run studies and compare. Studying was something he did differently and it was something he did every season.

Many of the top producers are always studying. I’ve heard many of them say a person needs to always have a test patch.  Regardless of its a 10 acre patch or a whole section top producers literally try and run it off the cliff and see where they can do the outrageous.  Yes, some of them fail. Some are a total zero, but they’re always get new ideas that DO work!  Francis was someone who was always studying and growing!


Be sure to check back to the blog this week to hear the other 3 secrets!  Or hear them on the podcast at

What The Corn King Taught Us

5 things we learned from the corn king

Happy Monday! Today we released a brand new podcast sharing with you five ideas that we learned from Francis Childs to increase yields.  We cherish the time we shared with Francis.  He was a unique individual who just always looked at things differently and I think that was one of the keys to his success! If we look at things just like everyone else, then we get the same results that everyone else has.

We enjoyed learning from him, we enjoyed working with him and he was just a really awesome human being. As a bonus we want to share one of our favorite memories with Francis that exemplifies what he was like. In about 2005 we were getting ready for a field day and my daughter Karen who was about 11 years old. She had come out to the field to pick some of us up for lunch and she was in a Kawasaki Mule. Francis quickly hopped in and rode with Karen. Once they get about halfway to the house as they were going through a pasture, Francis reaches over, kicks Karen’s foot off the foot feed and puts his foot on it and he says, “I’ll run the gas you steer!” At that moment he smashed the foot feet clear to the floor. In the blink of an eye, I was watching my daughter, literally flying over field terraces, yelling and screaming and giggling with Francis. That was how Francis lived his life…wide open. He was always the guy who was pushing the limit going as fast & as far as he could. Francis was always on a quest to be the fastest and the best.

So today on the blog we are going to share the first thing Francis taught us.  He use to tongue and cheek say “You can never plant corn before 10 o’clock in the morning.” Now let me say… that’s not actually a statistical fact, but let’s dig into why he said that.  The reason he said that was because at his house, the rule was you couldn’t drink a soda before 10:00 AM.  Why does that matter?

You can never plant corn before 10 o'clock in the morning.”

Francis always said you couldn’t plant your corn until you could set a half a can of Pepsi on the box of the corn and drive across the field.  If that half a can of Pepsi would stay on the box and it would ride to the other end of the field, then your field was smooth enough to plant corn.  He was very much adamant about getting a really good contact between the seed and the soil and he was very much adamant about making sure that we had the perfect stand.

Francis used to jokingly say that if a rabbit got halfway down a row, it would have to go all the way to the other end in order to move over to the next role because he couldn’t cut through.  Francis believed a good stand crucial & he always did an incredible job of that.  It was an honor to get to go walk his fields and to be a part of it! It was incredible to see the 442 bpa that he grew up in Iowa. It was also incredible to be a part of being his Nebraska yield of 299.7 as well.  He always strived for the perfect stand and it was a key part of his success. To achieve that it’s crucial that his field was smooth enough and that he was driving the right speed.


Be sure to check back to the blog this to hear the other 4 secrets!  Or tune into the podcast at

My grandpa always said…

Grandpa said

Today, we’re doing a special throw back to what  Grandpa always said, if you don’t have time to do it right the first time when will you?  There were so many lessons in life that the grandparents were right about.  Things like when we use a tool and we don’t put it away and then we’re going to do it later and then later comes we just needed again and now we can’t find it and life comes down to just the discipline.  Specifically what I want to talk about today is doing it right the first time. In planning for 2019 are we going to do it correctly?  As I was coming home last night, one of my neighbors up the road was out spreading fertilizer and unfortunately it was leaving ruts four foot wide and a foot and a half deep. It’s easy to justify it and rationalizing it. We say..”We got to go. We got acres to plant. We ain’t got time to wait. We ain’t got time to take care of it. We don’t have time to do the right thing. We got to go.” I’ve been receiving pictures of people out spreading the anhydrous, cutting foot deep ruts with four wheel drive tractors dueled up all the way around and you could just see at any given time 75% of the knives are letting gas blow up into the air.

What are they saying? “We just got to get it done.” I’ve got an idea… If our goal is to put nitrogen in the atmosphere, let’s just open the valve on the tank and let it roll and that would get all that anhydrous out of the tank because that seems to be the goal. Make the tank empty. Are we just trying to get rid of dry fertilizer and get it spread because “we got to go”? What kind of damage are we doing when we cut ruts, a foot or two foot deep? What kind of damage are we doing when we’re blowing gas on and we’re pulling it and we’re leaving ruts this deep with eight 20 inch wide tires?

If a significant amount of that anhydrous is escaping because the ground won’t seal what are we gaining?  Whatever we’re going to do, we need to do it to the best of our abilities. We need to do it right the first time. I really want to encourage you to think about this. I really want to encourage you to ask yourself this question, is this what’s best?

whats best

Yes, it’s mid April. Yes, we want to be doing something. Yes, we have all the equipment ready, but here’s the question. Tomorrow morning when we get up, would you be better off to go fishing instead of cutting ruts? Would you be better off to go play around at golf? Would you be better off to surprise your spouse & take her somewhere on a day trip?

Maybe the answer’s no, but maybe…the answer is yes.  2018 ended tough. I got that. We still got some guys with corn in the field here. The 2018 is not even over yet in some places, but 2018 is carrying over a lot of guys in the process of harvesting, cut big ruts and they’ve got things they’ve got to do and now we’re out here as a carryover from 2018 because we didn’t get the stuff done in the fall and now we’re going to do it wrong in the spring of 2019 and if we do that, we’re going to fight that all year long. Guys, there’s zero judgment in this.

Today take time to think. The bottom line is this… going out and working dirt that’s too wet (especially if it would turn off dry later the year) never works out well. You know what the end result is. You know the damage that we do, and we don’t wish that for you or anyone. Happy Friday Friend!

Breathe & Think About It

Breathe & Think About It

Today, we want to talk a little bit about stress. It seems that there was a franticness in the air. I know that we’ve had the hardest winter in a long time, probably since about 1978 and so as we come into spring in a rough space as to what we’re doing for plant 19. Try to remember this though it’s April 10th and it’s going to be okay. Since we’re only at the start of April, let’s not overreact and act like it’s June it’s not even May 10th so that’s good news.

Some of our guys in southern Missouri are planting corn today. Nothing makes me or any farmer happier than getting to go to plant. Am I Right? I just want you to take a deep breath. Now I’m not going to say, or try act like there’s not going to be challenges the spring because we know as I’m talking to guys throughout the corn belt, they’re talking about the fact that they’re concerned about being able to get the people who sell their dry broadcast products to get them applied in the appropriate amount of time. Obviously it’s still very muddy. Obviously a lot of places are still very wet. Up North there’s still snow on and there are some guys who are concerned and rightfully so.

Here’s what I want you to think about Starter Fertilizer…Regardless of if you’re set up for liquid or not think about it seriously this year!

  • My planter is set up starter, but I haven’t been using it. Let’s talk about what could we do if your planner is already set up. What if you grab control of your destiny and you say, I’m not going to wait on someone else to come and drive broadcast. I’m not going to let someone get on my fields prematurely and pack them down and cause compaction because they’re feeling the Rush, they’re frantic to get their work done. I’m going to take control. What I’m going to do is talk to someone about how can I apply apply p and k in the seed trench?
  • My planter is not set up for liquid…Yes, it’s April & I realize that it is not ideal to be trying to set, our planters up right now, but honestly, most of these planters can be ready in two days. 16 man hours in the shop & you’re ready to rock and roll. If you’d like some advice on how to handle that or some things on what to do, give us a call.

There is a better way to farm and there are alternatives and we’re not locked in to doing exactly what we did last year. We’re not locked into what dad did 20 years ago and we’re not locked into what grandpa did 60 years ago. So we hope that you will consider making a change this spring.

By the way…We have started a podcast and 2 episodes are available and we’re releasing new episodes every Monday.  We would count it as an honor if you would give it a listen, give us a rating, & share it with a friend.

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We really do appreciate you being a part of our page and letting us be a little bitty part of your life hope you’re having a great day and I hope you have a better tomorrow.

How to Pursue Higher Yields Without Breaking The Bank

How to Pursue Higher Yields Without Breaking The Bank (1)

Hey guys, Happy Friday.  Today we are going to talk about how is it that we’re going to pursue higher yields without losing money.  We recently had the opportunity to speak with a farmer and he said that they’re doing a great job. They’re raising their yields up but they have so much money in each bushel, that they’re still not making any money. So he said, “I have a job in town working 50 hours a week, so that I can afford to farm.” That really got us thinking of the Churchill quote that says “That the truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end there it is.”
I really want you to think about what are you gonna do differently this year. What are you waiting for? What’s holding you back? Why are you scared to make a decision? Here’s the deal, higher yields are out there, but if we go with it with the way that everybody wants us to buy … In the words of Francis Childs, one of his taglines was, “Don’t be a moron.” Don’t be the guy that thinks you’re gonna get higher yields just by putting a lot more on. A lot more N, a lot more P and a lot more K, because in the end that’s not going to get you where you want to go.  Most of us are not suffering for a lack of N, P, or K. The secret to getting to the other side is not to spend a whole bunch of money. The secret is to take what we’re spending and reallocate it and make sure that we have a reason for everything we’re doing.

Unlocking yields
Guys, the secret to unlocking higher yields, to pursue the next level requires us to address the things we haven’t been addressing. Maybe we need to spend a little bit less on a broadcast dry P and K program, and a little bit more on addressing in-furrow micronutrients.  Maybe what’s keeping us from having yields that we deserve is a little bit of Zinc, or a little bit of Manganese. I looked at a soil test yesterday, the guy had more parts per million K, than he had magnesium. That is a significant yield drag, because those compete at the absorption site to get into the plant. If we have more K than we have mag, mag won’t go in. What does Mag do? It’s chlorophyll. So the pursuit of higher yields for that individual, probably $15 to $20 an acre is a $3.50 pint of magnesium, that’s it.   That’s how we’re gonna pursue higher yields.

We really want is to bring value to you here on the blog, our facebook page, & on our BRAND NEW podcast. Most importantly, we really want you to make 15 or 50 bucks more per acre than you were going to if you didn’t know us. So if you’re interested in how to raise your yields, while maybe spending no extra money, or minimal extra money, but redirecting what you’re spending in a way that works for you, talk to us.

This spring is gonna be interesting. There’s nothing put out last fall and maybe this year is the year to say, “Maybe dry broadcast isn’t the answer. Maybe this year I control my destiny, maybe this year I put on a set of FurrowJets and I can put down a significant amount of P and K, both in the seed trench and in the walls.” Maybe this is the year that you turn it upside down and you find something that will work better, remove your limiting factor and take you to another level if so feel free to call or text Karen @ 641-919-5570

You’re One Choice Away

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You’re ONE choice away from a totally different life…but what does that mean for you & your farm…?

For everyone it’s different…

For some of you, you’re in a job that you hate, and you’re trying to get out but have to make more money on the farm to do that.

For others, you are farming full time… but you’re stuck, and you’re not as profitable as you’d like to be (maybe you even lost money last season).

For some of you, you’ve hit a yield plateau, and you’re trying to reach new yield heights.

And for others of you, you’re looking for that a way to bring more family members into the operation!

Let me ask you a few questions…

  1. Are you just getting started, and have NO IDEA where to start?
  2. Are you in a dead end job that you hate, and you want to farm full time?
  3. Do you have a farm that’s been successful, but for some reason your yields have plateaued and your profits are stuck?
  4. Are you trying to figure out a way to bring your spouse home from an in town job
  5. Do you have kids that are growing up & you want them to be able to farm with you but don’t access to more acres?
  6. Are you convinced that you need to do something else, but not sure where or how to start?



If You said YES to ANY Of The questions Above, Then I Want To Invite You To Join Us And Change Your Farm Forever! The choice costs $1,199. Why 1,199 dollars? This covers..

  • your in depth soil tests and field by field recommendations
  • 2 day agronomy conference (plus meals & materials)
  • 3 day business conference (plus meals, materials, & lodging)
  • $150 of product credit.
This all comes with a 100% personal money back guarantee!  If for any reason you decide this isn’t the direction you want to go to change your farm after you have attended the conferences we will personally write you a check to refund your money.

The Life You Want, The  Family That You Want, The Farm You WANT Is Going To Be Fueled By The choices YOU MAKE before the planters roll THIS spring…so text Karen at 641-919-5570 to get started.

planter roll

Can Sugar Add Dollars To Your Bottom Line?


The Third study from Top End Farming we want to show you is the Syntose FA (Sugar Study.) Syntose is a unique blend of readily available sugars, molasses, and fulvic acid. It is ideal for use on all soils and plants. Syntose FA easily incorporates into any farming operation. It readily mixes with starter fertilizers and other key nutrients and chemistries.

What are the benefits of Syntose FA®?

  • Sugar provide necessary energy to stimulate microbial life in soil which promotes healthy plant soil ecology.
  • Fulvic acid is a natural chelating agent and can easily penetrate plant cells, helping the plant take up nutrients.
  • Easy to use and tank mix – no hassles trying to dissolve granular sugar sources.
  • Each pint of Syntose FA provides 1 lb of sugar.
  • Valuable in both soil and foliar applications.

Plot #52: 1pt syntose foliar applied 244bpa

Plot #53: 1pt in furrow, 1pt foliar 233.64bpa

Plot #54: 1pt in furrow, 1pt pre-emerge, 1pt foliar 241.32bpa

Plot #55: 1pt in furrow yielded 243.11bpa

Plot #56: 5 gallon 3-18-18 yielded 235.54bpa

*All in furrow applications used 5 gallon of 3-18-18 as a carrier

Price per pint is $.80-$1.25 acre depending purchase quantity

3 Things That Can Make You More Money THIS Year 💰

We’re traveling to the commodity classic today and while our flight is delayed we have been thinking of ways to help YOU have a better 2019.

So the question is how do we do that? Well we came up with 3 things that we think will help your farm this year.

#1 – Pick your top 5. Who are the 5 people who are going to influence you the most? Are they people who want the best for you? We all tend to be the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Iron sharpens iron and maybe it’s time to change who we spend our time with. We hope that you spend time with people who are positive, progressive and passionate about agriculture.

#2 – Find a mentor who does things not only different from you but also better than you. If you want to move to a new level for yields and profit on your farm spending time from someone who is always learning and studying is one of the fastest ways for you to do that. Our family has had the privilege of being mentored by people like Jerry Cox (24 time NCGA Winner), Francis Childs (Dry land corn highest yield producer), Dennis Dammen (progressive agronomist) & Charles W Herbster (Conklin’s Owner & Farmer from Nebraska. Pictured Below). The things these men have taught us have been invaluable over the years and I truly hope you can have someone in your life that can help you like they have helped us.

#3 Attend Conferences & Trade Shows. If you can get ONE good idea from an ag event it’s worth your time, effort, & investment. One good idea is worth the $500 fee or $1,000 fee or whatever the cost may be because one good idea can make you money!

If you’re traveling to Orlando to the Commodity Classic be sure to stop by the A Better Way to Farm booth 554 – we would love to meet you!

We hope that these 3 things will bring profit to your farm and if you’re looking for someone you can learn from and network with comment here or text Karen at 641-919-5570 and we’ll be happy to see if we can help!

Are PGR’s Worth It?


Hello Everyone, Today we are sharing more research from Top End Farming on their farm in Northern Illinois.  2018 was a year full of changes and weather challenges but it was a great learning experience. They experienced heavy rains all year which challenged everything from emergence to making timely spray passes. Having wet feet all year certainly knocked a lot of the Top End yield potential out, but it also provided a great learning opportunity for us all.

Dan pulled soil tests in the fall of 2017 to see what was needed and at what rates. Everything we do is based off of specific soil tests, field by field.  So, we’re not throwing blind darts at the wall wasting ANY money. This is why we highly recommend everyone uses MidWest Labs from Omaha, NE to run independent soil tests.

Today we are talking about two growth regulators. One being X-cyto and the other being a brand product new product Intensify. X-cyto is a liquid formula and has a soil and foliar version available. Intensify is a granule product recommended for in-furrow and foliar applications.

Intensify yielded 262.04bpa at a cost of $4/acre (out yielding check by 11.28 bpa)

Foliar Xcyto yielded 263.73bpa at a cost of $12.65/acre (out yielding check by 12.97 bpa)

Check Strip yielded 250.76bpa

The test strips had over a 40bpa difference

We also had two 12 row strips planted with the intention to harvest for corn silage to measure tonnage and feed value differences. While we were able to get analysis on the strips we weren’t able to have them chopped due to extreme rains, tar spot killing the plants off early, and time constraints from our custom chopping crew.

We used Soil X-cyto in furrow along with everything the soil test called for on our treated strip and also on our own production acres. Our production acres yielded 6ton/acre over 2017. The test strips had over a 40bpa difference when harvested which we’re sure would have made for a significant tonnage difference also.

Silage check strip: 198.43bpa       Silage X-cyto strip: 240.50bpa