Considerations for Corn Product Placement

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Generally, the first selection criteria when choosing a corn product is yield potential, followed by various agronomic characteristics. Certain corn products may not be the best choice for all fields as there may be differences between the fields in soil types, drainage, potential pest pressure, and overall yield potential. Local climate and the end-use of the product (grain or silage) should also be considered.

Yield environment - Do you have fields that are low-yielding environments, while others represent high-yield environments? Different corn products can be positioned to help maximize yield potential within those varying environments. Product selection considerations include drought tolerance, plant health, maturity, disease, and insect ratings, along with management decisions.

Product maturity - A good management practice is to plant a combination of early-, mid-, and full-season relative maturities (RM) to help spread out the harvest schedule and mitigate risks associated with the weather. Generally, the majority of acres in an operation should be planted to mid– and full-season products due to the tendency for them to have a higher yield potential. When placing corn products for silage production, the correct RM should match the environment where the corn will be grown to maximize forage quality and potential starch content.

Soil texture, drainage, and fertility levels - In heavier textured (clay) or poorly drained soils, consider placing products with good emergence, especially with early planting. Products with better drought tolerance, stalk strength, and root strength may be preferred when planting in lighter or sandier soils. Phosphorus (P) contributes to root establishment and potassium (K) is essential for stalk strength. If you have fields that are low in P and/or K levels, as indicated by recent soil tests, consider placing corn products with good root ratings for low P soils and good stalk ratings for low K soils.

Disease and insect pressure - Review past insect and disease issues by crop for each field as well as problems in neighboring fields. Have these yield-reducing pests been an occasional concern or a perpetual problem? Is corn rootworm a potential problem? If certain diseases or insects have been problems in the past, select corn products that offer protection from these pests. When these products are not available, select corn products with good agronomic characteristics. For example, choosing a product with good stalk quality would be beneficial when battling a disease that can only be controlled by a timely, late-season foliar fungicide application.

Weed management - Positioning corn products with herbicide-tolerance traits may be beneficial for some fields. Place products based on current herbicide programs, application timing, and weed species that are present.

Crop rotation and tillage system - Is the field you are planting in a continuous crop system or in a rotation? Some products positioned correctly have been identified to perform better in each of these conditions. Some products work better in no-till or minimum tillage systems. If no-till, consider good emergence and standability, disease rating, and overall plant health. If conventional tillage, consider emergence and root ratings to help prevent potential issues caused by compaction. Corn-on-corn systems may have the additional challenge of cooler and wetter soils due to heavy residue, and placing a product with strong early emergence can be important. Planting products with multiple mode-of-action insect protection can help to minimize the risk of insect damage from corn rootworm, corn earworm, and corn borers that can be more problematic in corn-on-corn acres. Diseases caused by pathogens that survive in corn debris, such as Goss’s wilt, are potentially more severe in corn-on-corn. Selecting corn products with high levels of resistance to these types of diseases is a good management strategy for these acres.

Take inventory of your corn products and needs on an individual field basis, then work with your seed representative in positioning products to help maximize your yield and profitability potential. 180122091045