Uniform Emergence one of the Keys to Big Corn Yields


As we heard from NC State Extension Corn Specialist, Dr. Ron Heiniger yesterday, there’s a few management techniques that growers can employ this year to boost yields, in a year when high yields will mean profit, not price.  In yesterday’s segment, Heiniger talked about water management:

“Look at all these high yield growers, growers like Randy Dowdy on sandier dogonne soils in southwest Georgia than we have, and yet doing that consistently.  He’s managing that water, he’s able to get drainage, just by the nature of his soil, he’s able to get drainage…for instance last year he planted an earlier hybrid, he understood that there were going to be shorter periods of ideal rainfall, so he planted an early hybrid.  We need to do the same thing here; we need to understand what our climate outlook is, plant at the right time, manage the fields and soil situations, various techniques, that’s your first step.”

Today, Heiniger outlines the importance of uniform emergence:

“The second tool, is the emergence and growth to that early reproductive stage.  And this is true about corn and sorghum, as well, and I think it has applications to other crops.  And I’ve talked a lot about this year about this uniformity in emergence.  That’s so important, these new hybrids are stress tolerant.  And where do they get their stress tolerance over what we had 30 years ago?  They get it by being aggressive in sending out roots, aggressive in putting on leaves, in other words they’re competitive…well, they were meant to be competitive to weeds, but they’re competitive against each other.   So, if they don’t come up uniformly…I like they way Dewey Lee said it best…’corn is not a good neighbor to itself’.

So, uniformity in emergence helps us manage that competitiveness now, and get us off to a start where every plant has the opportunity to perform at its highest level.”

And the third management technique:

“Third little secret, those early nutrients and concentrations in that root zone.  We heard a lot this last year about how much starter people used, and that kind of stuff.  But, it’s not about how much, but where it is.  it needs to be right there, readily available in that little emerging seedlings root zone, so immediately it’s picking up nutrients, and immediately it’s starting to set yield potential.  So, indeed, that’s the third secret to his.”

Managing light interception is the fourth secret explains Heiniger:

“And then finally, once they’ve got it to V-7, where it’s starting it’s reproductive formation, they make sure that they protect that light interception, whether it’s through fungicide and nutrition, or whether it’s through managing diseases, and stuff like that.  They just make sure that they’ve got good light…consistency of light interception.”

Tomorrow, Ron Heiniger outlines the importance, or not of irrigation, and other infrastructure in the field on Inside Agriculture.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.