Maximizing your corn yield starts at planting and matching genetics. Mark Truster, our Lead Agronomist and Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) has laid out the key factors for planting this season.
Preparing Your Seed Bed
Seed bed preparation is key, even in no-till. In a tilled environment you want to achieve a smooth firm surface with consistent moisture and working depth and even residue distribution. In no-till environment you want to achieve even residue distribution and consistent moisture.
Planting at Optimal Seed Depth
Optimal seeding depth is from 1.75 to 2.25 inches. You want to plant down to where the moisture is. Depth consistency is critical to even emergence. Seed to soil contact is critical. The seed trench must be closed and firmed. All plants should emerge as evenly as possible. If all emerge within 36 to 48 hours you have been very successful.
The Perfect Soil Temperature
Soil temperature at planting should be a minimum high of 55 to 60 degrees with a minimum low temperature of 45 degrees at seeding depth.
Adjusting Planting Population
Make sure you match correct population to the soil and chosen hybrid. Planting population should be adjusted to compensate for seed germination percentage and weather. Adjust populations upward if weather is on the colder and wetter end of the acceptable range. Your ear counts per acre control your yield, while seeding population controls your ear count.
High, balanced soil fertility is important. You will want soil calcium between 67 to 72%, Soil potassium >2.2%, M3 phosphorus >35ppm, and soil magnesium < 18% and >100ppm. In furrow application of orthophosphate, zinc, manganese, and insecticide is recommended, fungicide is optional in furrow at planting. Application of nitrogen and sulfur at planting should between 25 to 40 lbs/ac N + 6 to 12 lbs/ac S. Your total nitrogen program should equal your yield goal x 0.8 (ex – 200 bu/ac yield goal x 0.8 = 160 lbs/ac). This should be applied in at least 2 forms. Sulfur should be applied at 30 total lbs/ac in at least 2 applications, this can be incorporated with nitrogen applications.
When to Plant & Beyond
Plant into a warming weather forecast, by at least May 25th. If you can use this recipe and follow up with good weed, disease and insect control, get some timely rains and harvest on a timely basis from 18 to 22% moisture, your yields will exceed your expectation.