11 Proven Profit-Producing Practices for Corn

06:18PM Mar 10, 2016
illinois-corn-and-soybeans-near-atlanta-and-stanford_14989164555_o
( Alison Rice )

Feel like the odds are stacked against you for 2016? Peter Thomison and Steve Culman with The Ohio State University assert that the best practical and economic approach to high yields is following proven production practices.

“The significant drop in crop net returns that’s occurred in recent years warrants developing strategies to lower input costs,” they write. “An input that might have paid for itself with $5.50 corn may not at $3.75 corn, [for example].”

The researchers came up with the following 11-item checklist for corn producers. How many of them will you be implementing this spring?

checkmark_green Know the yield potential of your fields, including yield history, soil type and productivity.

checkmark_green Choose high-yielding hybrids that have had consistent results across a number of locations or yields.

checkmark_green Strive for timely pest control, especially with weeds.

checkmark_green Achieve timely planting (by around May 10 in Ohio). Fields planted later should have corn borer traits included.

checkmark_green Follow practices that enhance stand establishment. That includes monitoring regularly for consistent seeding depth, and running the planter at speeds that optimize seed placement. Uneven emergence is an enemy to good yields.

checkmark_green Follow seeding rate recommendations – 31,000 to 33,000 plants per acre is adequate in most production environments.

checkmark_green Apply N efficiently. Consider sidedress applications and methods that minimize N loss potential such as incorporation or injection, stabilizers, etc.

checkmark_green Test soil to determine proper NPK rates. Don’t apply P and K unnecessarily.

checkmark_green Use tillage only when necessary.

checkmark_green Rotate crops – corn after soybeans routinely yields 10% to 15% better than corn after corn.

checkmark_green Be diligent throughout the season and troubleshoot problems as soon as they arrive.

“These are by no means the only management practices with which growers need to be concerned, but they are keys to achieving high corn yields,” Thomison and Culman note.

What’s on your checklist for consistently high yields? Share your thoughts in the comments below.