By Cutting Edge Consulting, a team of Agronomists contracted by AgVenture, Inc.
Have you and your money-making team all but finalized all the details of your cropping plan, including yield enhancement tactics and establishing the highest of standards to accomplish all those tactics? If someone continually tries to educate you only on ways to reduce input costs, there’s a very good chance they don’t know how to increase corn and soybean yields. Whether you call it blazing new trails, raising the roof, or raising the bar on yields… this current marketplace reeks of the benefits key money makers can bring to your operation.
Every success story of great yields always starts with an impeccably uniform stand both for corn and soybeans. That great stand includes uniform emergence and good spacing that can only come from the best warm AND cold germ scores. Another MUST for terrific stand establishment is having a low abnormal count in the seed you are planting! The highest of planting standards needs to accompany those exceptional germs/abnormal scores. We personally believe the best stands of corn come from planting speeds between 4 and 4.5 mph… possibly 5 mph if it is a firm, level, and vertically tilled seedbed. Floating row cleaners really help move the residue and occasionally clods away from the row to allow the disc openers to perform their task of opening the seed trench. A single seed is then dropped at the desired depth of about 2 3/8” deep. The closing wheels enhance seed-to-soil contact to allow uniform moisture to enter the seed to begin germination. We target 2 3/8” planting depth to account for any settling we may have from planting to final seed depth, and at a final depth of 2+” we have a more consistent environment in terms of moisture and temperature. A consistent environment leads to more consistent emergence. Precise and finesse planting is required in establishing a phenomenal soybean stand as well. We believe a true row unit does a much better job at placing the soybean seed to a consistent depth (preferably 2” planting depth) and does a great job at metering seed compared to drills. Utilizing a row unit, planting at a consistent depth, and in fit conditions are all key components to establishing a great soybean stand, along with elite seed treatments with the earlier planting goals we set.
Residue next to seeds and/or the wrong, harsh herbicides can affect germination and early growth resulting in a reduction in your final ear count. Early feeding of nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, zinc, etc. from the planter or a good weed ‘n feed program supplies much needed nutrition early. Having this early source of nutrients allows accelerated and more aggressive root system development, seedling growth, and it also improves seedling photosynthesis and color. We have found that planting 6 mph or more affects the depth control in most cases during the planting process, resulting in possibly lesser of a root system which will put those shallower planted seedlings at a disadvantage all season long. Having inconsistent depth or too shallow planting depth is another factor that can result in delayed emergers. Tillage, the planting process, seed quality, and early nutrition are all key in establishing not only a great stand, but great yield potential as most yield is determined early in a corn plant’s life. This is compared to soybeans which determine most of their yield in the second half of the season. We believe the team members here at AgVenture are each uniquely qualified to bring a money-making mentality to the table to raise that yield bar in these times of exciting commodity prices.
Lastly, in this marketplace we adamantly believe:
- Do NOT be short of nitrogen and meet all early, mid, and late season needs in corn. We believe applying multiple products at multiple times is the BEST way to increase nitrogen efficiency as well as yields.
- Sulfur, sulfur, sulfur… It behaves like nitrogen in most cases and is a great companion to nitrogen applications!
- Call a money maker to get their opinions on planting accuracy and fitness of the soil at planting time…. Having another set of eyes behind the planter can raise your yield potential significantly by helping you make small, simple changes to that important process.
- Get your elite fungicide products spoken for, paid for, and delivered to your shop floor. Shortages will occur if you wait until the middle of the season to decide how much and what you want to spray. In corn, we really like V6, V10-V12, and R1 fungicide timings. If you choose one timing, the R1 application shows the most consistent, highest paying benefit out of all the applications. Certain pairings of a 2-pass program can be a great addition to your system depending on the season’s stresses, disease pattern, etc.; however, the R1 application brings so many benefits beyond disease control.
- Be positive and enjoy the ride of the 2023 growing season!
Find your local AgVenture Yield Specialist at AgVenture.com/Find.