Help your corn crop get off to a good start this year with these tips from Ohio State University. From planting timing and tillage to seeding depth and rates, these tips will help alleviate mistakes during crop establishment and increase corn yield potential.
Perform tillage operations only when necessary and under the proper soil conditions. Avoid working wet soil and reduce secondary tillage passes. Perform secondary tillage operations only when necessary to prepare an adequate seedbed.
Complete corn planting by early May. During the two to three weeks of optimal corn planting time, there is, on average, only one out of three days when field work can occur. Avoid early planting on poorly drained soils or those prone to ponding. Yield reductions resulting from "mudding the seed in" are often much greater than those resulting from a slight planting delay.
Adjust seeding depth according to soil conditions. Plant between 1 1/2 and 2 inches deep to allow for frost protection and adequate root development. Seeding depth should be monitored regularly during the planting operation and adjusted for varying weather and soil conditions.
Adjust seeding rates on a field-by-field basis. Adjust planting rates using the yield potential of a site as a major criterion for determining the appropriate plant populations. Lower seeding rates are usually preferable when droughty or marginal soils limit yield potential. Most research suggests that planting a hybrid at suboptimal seeding rates is more likely to cause yield loss than planting above recommended rates. Follow seed company recommendations with regard to optimal seeding rates for different hybrids.
Plant a mix of hybrid maturities. Planting a mix of hybrids with different maturities reduces damage from diseases and environmental stress at different growth stages (improving the odds of successful pollination) and spreads out harvest time and workload.
Plant full‑season hybrids first. Planting a full‑season hybrid first, then alternately planting early‑season and mid‑season hybrids, allows the grower to take full advantage of maturity ranges and gives the late‑season hybrids the benefit of maximum heat unit accumulation.
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