Irrigation scheduling is also important for corn yields, noted Larson. “We need to look at what the corn crop needs and try to get away from just watering based on other crops, or irrigating on a certain day of the week. We’ve seen cases in the past where we overwater corn during certain times of the year and underwater during certain times of the year. Both can be damaging.”

Row width can also influence corn yield, Larson notes. Data show that 30-inch rows perform better than wide rows, while twin-row planting falls somewhere in between.

Other factors include hybrid selection, which could result in a 5 percent to 8 percent increase over a lesser choice, and using a starter fertilizer in furrow, which shows a moderate yield response of about 4 percent. “Supplemental insecticide seed treatments can also impact yield, as the standard (250) level seed treatments don’t always provide the adequate control we would expect,” Larson said.

As you intensify your management of corn, it is important to remember that “thorough crop scouting can greatly improve results and profitability,” Larson said.

While plant population and nitrogen rate do impact corn yield, growers don’t always see a yield impact when either population or nitrogen is increased from what is considered optimum, Larson says.

“Research we’ve conducted at Mississippi State on these two variables indicates that once you get to an optimum level, or what the Extension Service recommends, there’s not a lot of enhancement in yield beyond that point. We see a significant increase up to a certain point, then the yield levels off. There’s not as much to gain if you’re already planting at recommended plant populations and nitrogen rates.”