Careful nutrient management
Further input management practices such as grid soil sampling and variable-rate fertilizer application also improve environmental stewardship at Silent Shade.
“In the Mississippi Delta, all the rainfall can cause us to lose nitrogen,” Jack says. That’s why he spoon-feeds nitrogen (N) to crops during the growing season.
“We variable-rate apply our nitrogen in three shots so we can accurately meet the needs of the crop,” he says. “We use a mid-season, variable-rate aerial application. The airplane applies only to the areas of the field that show a need for nitrogen, based on remote sensing.”
Silent Shade has received a number of awards throughout the years honoring the Jack family’s forward thinking and use of the most current technology. The farm employs agronomic scouts to help protect plant health and reduce insect and disease pressure. Silent Shade also was one of the first in the area to use twin-row soybean and corn seeding, variable-rate cotton seeding and variable-rate fertilizer application.
“This technology has allowed us to make every acre reach the top of its potential,” Jack says. The farm continues to expand, and is now managed by Jeremy and his sister Stacie Koger. Silent Shade operates approximately 7,500 acres, growing cotton, corn, soybeans, rice and wheat.
With that many acres to manage, efficiency is a must. Silent Shade is always looking to eliminate passes through the field, which isn’t easy to do in the delta.
“Tillage in the Mississippi Delta is different than in other parts of America,” Jack points out. “Due to our warm climate, high rainfall and weed pressures, we have to make ridges every year, and we need to deep till every year. We also have the pressures of weeds and crop residue from the year before.”
Silent Shade uses a minimum-till approach, making one pass with a combination tool. “One-trip plows allow us to make one trip after the harvesters, and then we can come right back and plant,” Jack says. “This allows us to lower our costs, reduce our passes through the field and reduce our erosion. We can reshape our rows, do sub-soiling and be able to grow large crops the next year, all with one pass.”