Seed World

Is Increasing Corn Production as Easy as One, Two, Three?

Rural scene of an agricultural cornfield under a stormy sky, forecasting farm industry GMO corn crop dangers or meteorlogical thunderstorms. Agricultural economy and futures. Rows of corn stalks grow under an ominous sky. Photographed on location in midwest, USA.

With U.S. producers planting fewer corn acres and planting in Illinois and Wisconsin off to a slow start, farmers might be wondering what their next steps should be to ensure an abundant growing season.

Producers surveyed in the United States intend to plant 89.5 million acres of corn this year. This acreage is a staggering 4% decrease, or 3.87 million acres fewer, than 2021, stated the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service 2022 Prospective Plantings report.

In order to increase these yields, Wyffels Agronomy Team and Golden Harvest shared three pieces of advice to provide farmers.

Wyffels’ Three Planting Considerations

  1. Growers still have time.
  2. Planting in prime conditions on May 15 is more ideal than “mudding in corn on May 3.”
  3. Proceed with original hybrid lineups until the final week of May.

“With a shortened growing season, it’s still important to maintain focus on maximizing productivity and profitability by planting the best products for your field and environment. Stick with your original plan until at least May 25,” advised Wyffels.

How Can Farmers Increase Yields?

The key to optimizing corn yield potential is to recognize the interactions between hybrid genetics, environment and specific management practices, according to a press release by Golden Harvest.

The Golden Harvest agronomy research team, in collaboration with local universities, supported their claim with field trials implemented across the Midwest. The team looked at practices including seeding rate, fertility and foliar-applied fungicides in relation to Golden Harvest hybrids.

Following their research, Golden Harvest Eastern Agronomic Research Scientist Brad Bernhard and Steve Wilkens, Golden Harvest Agronomy Manager for the East, shared three core management practices they believe will bring higher yields.

1.Determine the Ideal Seeding Rate for Each Hybrid

Seeding rate depends on the hybrid and environment. The grain yield potential of certain corn hybrids heavily relies on agronomic characteristics, therefore making the corn more easily influenced by an increased seeding rate.

“When determining the optimum seeding rate, it’s important to consider things like the hybrid’s ear type,” said Bernhard. “Hybrids that exhibit ear flex tend to produce a larger ear at lower planting populations and a smaller ear at higher populations, while fixed ear hybrids produce the same number of kernels per ear, regardless of population.”

Appropriate seeding rates are essential to achieving a higher yield potential, stated Golden Harvest. Work closely with farmer customers to understand the environment and management plans to determine the most efficient seeding rate by field.

2.Accurately Placed Fertilizer

Precision fertilizer placement allows nutrients to be available closer to the plant. Phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen can be utilized to develop stronger roots, stems and foliage in corn plants.

“Systems for precision fertilizer application include planter-applied fertilizer, banded fertilizer and strip-tilled fertilizer. Differing from broadcast applications, which increase the fertilizer rate, precision fertilizer application works best by concentrating the same or reduced fertilizer rate in a more concentrated area near the plant,” explained the release.

Proper fertilizer placement opens the door for an increase in late season standability.

3.Apply Fungicide to Maximize Return on Investment

Healthy plants fend off disease longer.

Fungicide applications supply plants with an extra layer of protection to fight diseases such as tar spot and Southern rust. They also help to decrease disease pressure from pathogens that may already be present.

“But the right fungicide can do even more for your corn plant health than prevent disease,” explained Wilkens. “Fungicide applications can also lead to increased standability and stay-green, which prolongs photosynthesis and can boost yield potential.”

To test this theory, Golden Harvest conducted trials on their corn hybrid G11V76. Across 14 trials, both in high and low disease environments, the hybrid showed an overwhelming response to fungicide applications. Golden Harvest corn hybrid G14N11 saw a similar response.

While corn production might be down, following these practices could reap a greater yield.

Read More About Corn Production Across the World:

Prospective Plantings Report Shows Soybean, Not Corn, New King Crop

The Future of U.S. Corn, Soybean and Wheat Production Depends on Sustainable Groundwater Use

China Continues to Soften its GM Stance with Approval of Corn, Soybean Varieties

Two Amazing Innovations to Help the Corn Growers

New Opportunities for Corn Farmers in Italy