When you make one management change, it can influence three or four other key factors in your operation, including yield outcome.
Regardless of whether you grow 100, 1,000 or 10,000 acres of corn, you can benefit from implementing strategic, integrated agronomic practices – called The Systems Approach – for corn production and management.
The Systems Approach is designed to help you minimize risk, maximize yield and capitalize on the opportunity to make a profit, says Missy Bauer, Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist.
Bauer highlighted the various elements associated with the concept during the first day of the 2014 Michigan Corn College, in Coldwater, with farmers and consultants from eight states.
"It’s a whole-farm concept, regardless of the number of acres of corn you grow," she says.
Bauer says farmers commonly make a slight change to one aspect of their operation and don’t realize that one change impacts three or four other things in the process.
"If I’m changing tillage practices, for instance, I need to ask myself what else that might be affecting," Bauer explains. "It’s probably affecting hybrid selection and disease management, because I now have a different amount of residue out there."
Seed selection, balanced fertility, timely tillage, meticulous record keeping and careful planting and harvest operations are just a few of the building blocks to The Systems Approach.
"Evaluate your planting pass and whether you’re getting the ear counts you need," Bauer advises. "Evaluate fertility, which is your base foundation. Look at pH, P, K and nitrogen management, because they’re so critical to yield. Make sure you have uniform soil density, so we have enough root growth out in our fields as well."
Other important aspects of The Systems Approach is knowing your fields and taking proactive steps to guard crops from weeds, diseases and pests that can rob yield potential before you even realize it’s occurred. Bauer adds: "One of the best things you can do during the growing season is to get out and walk your fields, and scout throughout the season."
Thank you to the 2014 Corn College sponsors:
AgriGold, BASF, Great Plains Mfg., Honeywell, Plant Tuff, SFP, Top Third, Wolf Trax