What is in this article?:
- Planting practices: a major impact on corn performance
- More uniform stands, vigorous early growth
- Rotation increases yield potential, reduces costs
- Excessive planter speed can affect spacing
With corn planting for the 2011 season just around the corner, what growers do at this critical time can have a major impact on the crop’s performance, says Erick Larson. “While early planting is often a significant factor in success with corn, growers who rush the process and don’t follow sound practices can end up costing themselves yield,” he said at the annual Delta Ag Expo at Cleveland, Miss.
Rotation increases yield potential, reduces costs
“Crop rotation is always promoted,” he says, “because it will increase yield potential of all crops around 15 percent and substantially reduce expenses associated with pest and weed control. Rotating corn with other crops is “an under-appreciated practice.”
Larson notes that research has consistently shown as much as a 15 percent decline in yield for continuous corn compared to rotation.
Growing monocrop corn also increases the potential for greater disease, weed, and insect problems.
“I strongly discourage growing corn in the same field for more than two years in Mississippi. If you choose to plant continuous corn, I suggest selecting hybrids that have resistance to the foliar diseases that thrive when corn follows corn, such as northern corn leaf blight, southern corn leaf blight, and gray leaf spot. This is not a simple task, as hybrids may differ in resistance or susceptibility to every disease.”
Growers can often pick up an 8 percent to 10 percent yield advantage by choosing an elite hybrid over an average hybrid, Larson says.
“Corn is also very responsive to both plant population and nitrogen rate — but once you go beyond the optimum for these factors, it’s surprising how little response there is.”
Seed should be planted 1-1/2 to 2 inches deep. Less than 1 inch will result in roots being too close to the surface, exposing them to herbicide injury, insects, losses to birds, and hot, dry soils.