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Seeds of Success

RSS By: Channel Seedsman

Get expert agronomic advice from local Channel Seedsmen anytime, anywhere at AgWeb's Seeds of Success section. Issues include weed management, corn root worm, handling drought conditions and much more.

Planning Next Year's Harvest

Jan 25, 2013

Featured Agronomist: Dave Haines, Southern IN,

In planning for the 2013 crop year, farmers in southern Illinois, Indiana and western Kentucky have been asking how to improve yield potential. We have compiled some of the most common questions and talked with Dave Haines, Technical Agronomist for Channel, about best management practices for the upcoming season. Specializing in agronomic issues in this area, Haines gave some tips for improving yield potential for next year.

Question: What should farmers focus on when planning for the upcoming season?

DH: Farmers need to look back at previous growing seasons, and not just the growing season the year before. They need to plan for risk and the only management practice they really have is spreading maturity. The greatest risk comes during corn pollination. Not everything will be able to pollinate under stress so they really need to choose a product appropriate for their maturity zone and plan accordingly.

Question: What are some best management practices you have seen for protecting against weather issues?

DH: The common answer is to plant early. Planting early gets the crop to the reproductive phase earlier in the cycle, which will help avoid the hot, dry period that typically hits the Midwest in July. Early planting is really critical in years with drought conditions. We really want to get the corn/soybean crop planted as early as possible.

Question: Based on soil type, what are your current fertilizer recommendations?

DH: A lot of farmers will pull their fertility programs from last year. Farmers need to be getting a good soil test from all production fields. They must look at soil test levels and crop yields in each field to see what amount of nutrients have been removed; this will dictate what your fertilization should be. Most are over fertilized. Do the correct math on what proper removal is and then calculate for phosphorous/potash. Nitrogen gets a little more complicated. Nitrate testing should be done in the spring. The problem is getting an accurate sample. The procedure is labor intensive so it is hard to get a sample you can feel good about. Yield-limiting problems will occur if nitrogen runs out prematurely.

Question: What type of genetics would you recommend?

DH: Farmers need to select the genetics most adapted to their zone; that includes all aspects: disease, yield, stress, insects. For corn-on-corn rotation, farmers need to focus on disease resistance as the most important criteria followed by stress tolerance. For corn-soybean rotation, farmers need to focus on drought resistance followed by stress tolerance. With the wide range of soil types across the Midwest, it is important to select corn hybrids and soybean varieties that perform on the grower’s soil types. Pay particular attention to the soil’s water holding capacity.

When planning for next year, farmers need to look back at previous growing seasons to see how their crops performed in order to make the best decisions. Management practices will differ depending on each field.

To learn more best management practices in your area, contact Dave Haines from Southern Indiana ( or your local Channel Seedsman today.

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