Search for Excellence in Crop Production

D. Eddie Mcgriff
Regional Extension Agent - Agronomy
Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Blount, Cullman, Cherokee, Etowah, Jackson, Marshall, Dekalb, Madison

McGriff, D.E.*1,
1 Regional Extension Agent - Agronomy, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Cullman, AL, 35055

Northeast Alabama farmers annually plant 86,000 acres of corn; 95,000 acres of soybeans; 87,000 acres of cotton and 30,000 acres of other row crops including wheat, grain sorghum, peanuts, canola, and other small grains in the ten counties I cover. I, as the regional Extension agent for agronomic crops (row crops), am responsible for the educational programs and on-farm research to aid growers in making not only higher yields but, more importantly, to be more profitable and sustainable.

I accomplish these goals through field visits; production meetings; on-farm research trials; scout schools and field days; Extension publications, newsletters and e-mail updates; and producing crop scouting, as well in-studio and on-farm programs videos entitled "On The Farm in Alabama". 

I have developed an ultra-early and early planted soybean systems that has lead to growers following it to have the first 100+ bushel per acre soybean yields in Alabama and a record non-irrigated yield of 94 bushels per acre in the last three years. I have also developed corn and wheat audits (20+ production practices to higher yields and profits). I have done the corn production meetings statewide at the request of fellow REAs and the corn production portion for CCAs at our zoom winter production meeting as well as troubleshooting corn problems with field visits with other REAs. NInety percent of the corn in NE Alabama is non-irrigated and yields have increased in Alabama's entries in the National Corn Growers Association yield contest in this category by 26% over the last three years and a state record 355 bushels per acre yield in the irrigated category. Alabama, for the first time, had four growers I worked directly with to place nationally in the top 10 yields in their categories in 2020. .

I have taught the beneficial insects and occasional insect pests in cotton at our statewide crop scouting schools for the last three years. I have surveyed 19 cotton entomologists across the cotton belt to rank the top beneficial insects and followed up with an article and five issue insert in Cotton Grower magazine with photos on how to identify beneficial insects and reduce pesticide sprays.