Crop yields are an important element in every farmer’s day as they can affect how profitable your farmland can be. This is the reason why you need to learn how to improve your corn yields as it’s key to successful farming. The good news is that access to new technologies and improved planting methods has provided many farmers a chance to increase crop production.
Keep in mind that corn crop yield rates have been increasing over the years because of better corn hybrids and new planting techniques. There are technologies that allow you to understand your soil, the type of nutrients they can be lacking, and the best time to plant seeds that have significantly improved the results. Simply put, corn planting has benefited a lot with the introduction in the farming of science and technology. This article explains the key steps you can use to increase corn crop yield.
Completely control ryegrass before corn emergence
Ryegrass that emerges can be highly competitive with young corn. Unfortunately, ryegrass populations which are usually resistant to both ALS and glyphosate herbicides cannot be controlled once corn plants emerge. Hence, some scientists have developed a particular management plan you can use to control ryegrass competition during corn production systems.
This system includes the use of what is called a fall-applied residual herbicide that is designed to reduce the growth of resistant ryegrass. This is followed by spring-applied contact herbicides that have different modes of action designed to control weeds before corn emerges.
You must take advantage of crop rotation
Remember that rotating corn on corn cannot be helpful. There is strong evidence indicating that crop rotation can increase crop yield more than using any other management practice when it comes to normal input levels. There are many successful corn producers who claim that they use crop rotation to get high yields.
No doubt, crop rotation can be even more crucial for many corn growers. This is because this crop rotation can improve soil properties and even reduces risks related to insect issues, disease, weed, and pest problems.
Plant early when you see that the soil conditions are good for quick emergence and development
Your main seedling limitations are cool soil temperature and wet soils. Wet soil can promote compaction during planting, especially around the seed furrow leading to restriction in root development. On the other hand, soil temperature can regulate the germination rate. Therefore, cool temperatures tend to prevent stand success and uniformity in plant growth, which are important to high corn productivity. It’s a good idea to plant corn when the soil temperature is at least 55 degrees F at a 2-inch soil or even 55 degrees at a 6-inch soil depth.
Operate your planter properly
You need to slow down and be diligent with the planter to optimize efficiency. Studies indicate that plant spacing uniformity, as well as corn grain yield, can improve significantly when planter ground speed slows. The same studies show that corn yield improved at least 4.3 bushels per acre for each mph with slower speeds that were less than 6 to 3mph.
Ideally, you need to use a planter with slow speed to increase corn yields and improve crop response. Besides, uniform seedling emergence can also be important. Some studies also indicate that late-emerging plants can lose 23 bushels per acre each day of delayed emergence.
Use starter fertilizer
Starter fertilizer is an important component of most high-yield producer programs regardless of whether or not the soil fertility levels are already good. This is because corn usually responds quite well when you put phosphorus. It’s worth noting that phosphorus happens to be an immobile nutrient that is in the root area.
This improves plant uptake, especially when roots are pretty small. Therefore, it increases early maturity and vigor in a corn plant. Likewise, the use of Zinc which is another immobile nutrient in starter fertilizer can enhance corn crop response. Further, some studies also indicate that in-furrow placement of some insecticides like Capture LFR insecticides can also improve crop response when it comes to an in-furrow starter system and can significantly improve efficacy on Sugarcane beetles.
Feed the corn plants utilizing split applications
You can improve the availability of nitrogen by utilizing better application timing, and utilizing the right application methods from different nitrogen sources. With warm weather and high rainfall climate, they can increase the loss of nitrogen through denitrification as well as leaching when compare to colder and drier climates, especially in clay and heavier soils.
Therefore, you can improve seasonal availability when you apply nitrogen fertilizer, but it should be at specific times depending on corn need. It makes sense to use a split application method where you can apply a small portion of this nitrogen just after the emergence of corn plants. This can be followed by the majority of nitrogen fertilizer just before there are rapid growth stages which is the time when the corn plants need nitrogen a lot.
There is a pre-tassel application that you can also incorporate as another split to further conserve the availability of nitrogen. This method can reduce exposure of fertilizer to saturated soils that are known to encourage loss of nitrogen to leave more nitrogen for the crop.
Deal with all fertility issues
Fertility is perhaps a good foundation for corn health and the food required to get huge yields. Therefore, if you fail to provide high fertility, then you may not have successful yields. Crop response to lots of inputs can be restricted when there is any nutrient that becomes limiting. Nitrogen usually gets a lot of attention, but there are also lots of corn production problems related to inadequate potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and sulfur.
There are also some frequent soils and even plant tissue analyses that are required to address fertility needs, especially in crop rotation systems. Having neutral soil pH is also important as it can restrict the availability of some nutrients if it’s either alkaline or acidic.