Corn Product Placement

Corn product placement is the process of positioning a product under the right field conditions and management practices to create a successful outcome. In simple terms its placing the right product on the right ground.

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Generally, the first selection criteria when choosing a corn product is yield potential, followed by various agronomic characteristics. When placing corn products, the emphasis or ranking of agronomic characteristics and traits to consider can vary from one field’s priorities to another. Certain corn products may not be the best choice for all fields as there may be differences in their 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.

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Yield Environment - Knowing your yield potential and yield goal is important. These are two different considerations. 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, populations, plant health, maturity, disease, and insect ratings along with management decisions.

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Product Maturity and Agronomic Characteristics - 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. 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. Planting a spread of RM helps to mitigate risks associated with the weather. 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.

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Agronomic characteristics and traits are important considerations when placing corn products. The relative importance of individual traits differs with production practices and growing conditions. Important agronomic considerations include standability, disease and drought tolerance, insect and herbicide resistance, vigor and emergence ratings. Drydown, stalk quality, and root strength can influence harvest schedules. Several variables can affect these characteristics, such as stresses endured throughout the growing season and various pathogens.

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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, 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 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.

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Disease and Insect Pressure - Review past insect and disease issues by crop for each field as well as problems in neighbors fields. Have these yield-reducing pests been an occasional concern or a perpetual problem? Rotation, agronomic characteristics, and traits can be important to manage these pest problems. For example, a continuous corn cropping system may have annual foliar disease pressure and choosing a product with good resistance to diseases can be beneficial. Is corn rootworm a potential problem? Crop damage can occur regardless of corn rootworm pressure. Expected corn rootworm pressure coupled with certain crop rotations can influence insect trait(s) preferences within a product.

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Disease and insect pests can quickly reduce yield potential in a corn field. 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.

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

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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 till 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 compaction issues. Selecting corn products that can handle the additional stress associated with corn-on-corn environments can help. 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, such as Genuity® brand corn insect trait products, can help to minimize risk of insect damage from corn rootworm, corn earworm, and corn borers. Diseases caused by pathogens that survive in debris, such as leaf blights, stalk and ear rots, 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 on these acres.

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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.