This year’s early spring, and consequently early harvest created some interesting opportunities for double-cropping experimentation, and Landy Weathers, Circle W Farms, near Bowman South Carolina farmer did just that, planted corn behind corn:
“We did this for the first time about five years ago with the intention of getting a second crop of corn silage, which we did. But with all of the irrigation we have now, we really didn’t need that second crop. So the last three years we had been putting a second crop of soybeans behind the first crop of corn. But this year, due to corn prices, we decided to put about half of the available acres in corn and half in soybeans. We wanted to harvest the second crop of corn as a grain crop.”
Weathers felt fairly confident in his decision in planting corn for grain after harvesting corn for silage, because he had a safety net:
“The risk you take, is when you plant it in mid July, is if you get an early frost then the corn may not go to maturity to harvest as grain, but there isn’t a lot of risk in harvesting it as corn silage. So our theory was to see how the weather went, and harvest as either grain or silage.”
One challenge that Weathers has come across with this second planting is lack of summer heat to aid in dry down:
“We just started harvesting the corn yesterday. We have been busy with beans and just finished those last week. If there is one big problem with late planted corn, it does not dry down near as fast as a normally planted crop. It’s still really high in moisture. Its been full maturity but its still in the 23-24% moisture range. So we were waiting to see if it would dry out.”
With the high moisture content at harvest, Weathers says the actual yield on this second crop is a bit hard to peg:
“I would guess we will be in the 125-150 range on yield. If we can average 125-140 we will be pleased.”
As Weathers mentioned earlier, they also planted short-season soybeans behind corn for silage as well. Weathers says they’ve done well also:
“For comparison, we planted about 130 acres of the 250 we chop for silage, we planted about 120 acres at the same time in soybeans. They cut about 50 bushels.”
Weathers does say, however, he wouldn’t have tried this were not for irrigation.
Landy Weathers, Orangeburg County farmer.