Topics: Grower Profile
Name: Philip McCoun - Kentucky Farmer
Location: Shelbyville, Ky.
Years farming: 25
Number of Acres: 2,500
Crops: corn, soybeans, wheat
The last quarter-century of farming has taught Philip McCoun a lifetime of lessons, one of which is that technology can help the future of his farm. McCoun, who farms 1,000 acres of soybeans, 1,000 acres of corn and 500 acres of wheat, expertly employs soil testing and global positioning satellite technology to help his bottom line. Another advantage he's found is managing applied nutrients with fertilizer efficiency products.
"I'm 45 years old, and I'm still learning," McCoun says. "You have to keep an open mind about what can make your operation better. Good nutrient management practice makes operating my farm much simpler and less stressful."
Stack up to hold up – despite extreme rain
McCoun adds SFP’s AVAIL® Phosphorus Fertilizer Enhancer and NutriSphere-N® Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager to his applied nutrients, and frequently stacks the products (i.e. applying both products on the same crop).
McCoun, who's used SFP products for about five years, has noticed yield increases, but he really appreciates how well the products help crops absorb applied nutrients, even after rainfall. This was particularly evident during the wet year of 2009.
"We applied fertilizer with SFP products, and it stayed there," he says. "Last year, we had one heavy rainfall after another, and we still yielded really well."
When possible, McCoun practices fall fertilization, but due to heavy precipitation throughout 2009 he was forced to apply in the spring.
"I applied SFP products to 200 acres of corn," McCoun adds. "Then we had the worst downpour. It just made me sick; I was afraid of losing every cent of fertilizer cost. But despite the rain, we yielded 230 bushels, which was 15 bushels more than Kentucky’s average."
Different techniques work for different operations, but McCoun says since using SFP fertilizer efficiency products, he has converted entirely from liquid to dry fertilizer. In fact, in the past five years, he’s sold all his liquid equipment.
"I cannot speak for every farmer, but AVAIL and NutriSphere-N have greatly benefited my operation. We practice no-till on rolling ground, and before using SFP products we were knifing and then injecting liquid nitrogen. Now there’s no need to inject because the fertilizer remains in place. It saves me an entire trip across the field, and that is time and money."
Listen to your land
McCoun recommends soil sampling to monitor nutrient levels and to avoid unneeded fertilizer cost.
"We definitely test our soil," McCoun says. "I have a crop advisory service that develops gridlines; there’s no reason not to use today's innovative tools. In the long run, it will make you money."
Share. Learn. Listen.
One way McCoun keeps current on growing techniques and farming technology is by reading the latest farming magazines. He also talks to others in the industry, something he strongly advocates. McCoun says he loves the opportunity to meet growers from across the country to share techniques and tips.
He learned about SFP's AVAIL and NutriSphere-N during a conversation with David Huff, his Southern States Cooperative dealer, at the Henry County Co-op. McCoun says Huff did more than introduce the products – he was able to explain how they work and how a grower could benefit by using the products.
"I'm really happy with AVAIL and NutriSphere-N," McCoun says. "They've changed the way I farm, and more than pay for themselves year after year."
Click here to learn what other growers have experienced with AVAIL and NutriSphere-N.
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