The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture’s Jason Kelley, Extension agronomist, offers the following tips for a successful corn crop.
- Make sure raised beds are still intact before planting. Beds that settle because of heavy rain or are much smaller can cause planting problems with uneven planting depth or planting on the edge of the bed.
This is especially true for twin-row planted corn where each row may be too far on the edge of the bed for proper planting. Having corn planted on the edge of the bed can lead to shallow planting and result in poor stands and increases the potential for poor root development and lodging later in the season.
Having a good bed at the beginning of the season is essential. Re-pulling beds should be considered in most fields for optimum stand establishment.
- Plant the proper amount of seed. The trend the past few years has been to increase plant populations to increase yield. There are limitations to this practice, but plant populations needed to maximize corn yields have been increasing over time.
Typically for our irrigated fields, a final plant population of 32,000 to 34,000 plants/acre is recommended to maximize yield, regardless of row spacing (30, 38 or 38 inch twin rows). Under most conditions expect that 95 percent of the seeds planted will emerge.
This population level is generally enough to maximize yields on most hybrids, limits risk from late-season lodging and keep seed cost at a manageable level. Previous plant population research trials on several hybrids currently grown in Arkansas indicated that current plant population recommendations are appropriate for high-yielding corn.
- Plant seed at the proper depth. I generally like planting corn a full 2 inches deep. Sometimes with early planting, the tendency is to plant more shallow, which is a mistake in my opinion. I have seen corn that was planted shallow (1-1.5 inches) end up being very shallow after rains settle the beds. This is especially true on lighter textured soils and leads to poor root development and can cause lodging later in the season.
Shallow planted corn is also more susceptible to blackbird feeding. Avipel bird repellent (seed treatment) is labeled and available for use in Arkansas corn, which may help reduce blackbird feeding on newly planted/emerging corn. Feeding by blackbirds always seems to be worse in early planted fields.
- Plant under the best conditions. If conditions do not favor planting, the good news is that corn planted in late March to April will have warmer soil temperatures, and corn should emerge quickly and likely be more uniform than if it had been planted earlier. In previous planting date studies, obtaining an optimum stand was much more important than the actual planting date when looking at March-April planted corn.
Don’t push planting on fields that need another day or two to dry. Planting into fields that are too wet can cause sidewall compaction and may result in poor root growth later in the season along with poor stands if the seed furrow does not close properly. Performing tillage on fields that are too wet can lead to cloddy seedbeds, which will also result in erratic stands. Getting the best stand possible is the first step to achieving high corn yields.
New Products From BASF, FMC
BASF and FMC Corporation recently announced an agreement that brings novel in-furrow crop protection products to the U.S. corn market. The companies will integrate their market-leading insect and disease protection technologies into new products formulated with the convenient LFR patented technology from FMC.
The new products include the same technology found in Headline fungicide and in FMC proprietary LFR formulations in Capture LFR Insecticide. The unique LFR technology is unmatched in its ability to mix readily with liquid fertilizers, provide consistent active ingredient distribution and stay in suspension for uniform application from the first acre to the last.
Each company will offer new products as a result of the agreement. For 2017, BASF will launch Manticor LFR In-Furrow Fungicide/Insecticide. FMC will launch Temitry LFR Insecticide/Fungicide. EPA registration has been granted for both products.
Topguard EQ Fungicide Premix
FMC Corporation recently announced the launch of a new fungicide premix called Topguard EQ fungicide that provides long-lasting disease control and plant health benefits in corn, soybeans, wheat, pecans and more than 20 other crops.
Topguard EQ fungicide is the only premix of azoxystrobin, a strobilurin fungicide, and flutriafol, a triazole fungicide patented by FMC. This unique combination broadens the spectrum of diseases that can be controlled and offers multiple modes of action to combat disease resistance.
Once applied, flutriafol is rapidly taken up by plant tissues and translocates quickly within the plant to prevent the spread of disease. Azoxystrobin offers broad-spectrum disease control and is also a strong product for overall plant health. Topguard EQ fungicide provides both preventative and curative control on a number of major plant diseases.
Topguard EQ fungicide is registered on more than 20 crops including soybeans, corn, wheat, cotton, vegetables and nuts. In corn, the product controls a broad range of diseases including gray leaf spot, Southern rust and Northern corn leaf blight.
No End To Georgia Drought
Georgia farmers are experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent memory, and University of Georgia climatologist Pam Knox cautions that there could be a potential repeat next year.
“I’m thinking about April 1 of next year. If we haven’t been able to recover that soil moisture that we’ve lost, we could really see another bad drought in 2017,” Knox said.
La Nina would bring warmer temperatures and drier weather conditions to the Southeast. Farmers depend on rainfall from December through February to replenish the soil and refill irrigation ponds.
“This is already a dry time of year, but this is crazy that we’ve basically had no rain in the last month,” Knox said. “There was a good portion of the state that got no rain in October. That, coupled with the high temperatures, really makes the drought worse.”
Herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth Confirmed In Missouri
University of Missouri Extension weed scientists report the first confirmed case of multiple-herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth in the state.
MU Division of Plant Sciences research specialist Mandy Bish says, “As the incidences of herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth increase, producers lose chemical control options.”
PPO-resistant populations of the most common pigweed species, waterhemp, have been reported, but Palmer amaranth is much more aggressive than waterhemp. Under optimal conditions, Palmer amaranth can grow up to 2 ½ inches per day.
“Its fast growth makes it very difficult to effectively treat and control,” Bish says.
At harvest, Palmer amaranth can be distinguished from waterhemp by the longer seed head. Additionally, the female seed heads are prickly to the touch. Each plant contains about 500,000 seeds.
With multiple-herbicide-resistant populations confirmed, Bish says it will be important to implement nonchemical methods as part of control. Research indicates that one pass of deep tillage in affected areas can reduce both Palmer amaranth and waterhemp densities. Pigweed seeds need sunlight. If buried, they cannot germinate. CS