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Foundational Elements of High Corn Yields

As farmers plan for the 2023 growing season LG Seeds agronomist Robby Meeker wants them to think about what they can do to achieve higher corn yields. He says it comes down to three foundational elements: genetic selection, balanced nutrition and plant health.

“When we look in that first category of genetics, it’s important to know what we’re dealing with. When we look at a product like LG 64C20, we know that that is a grain fill product. Fungicide, side dress application, is going to help that kernel size, kernel weight. That product gets a lot of its yield then as opposed to a different hybrid, that would be a kernel count hybrid, that gets a lot of its yield earlier in the season.” 

Plant nutrition is key to building a big corn crop, according to Meeker, and when we think about nutrition, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium are the big three that come to mind.

“Those big three, N, P and K have come to mind for a lot of years. But I think it’s important to know what we have. It’s important to do a soil test, put a game plan together to not only have those N, P and K in line, but know what our sulfur level, is know what our other micronutrients are, to get us to that next yield plateau.” 

Speaking of efficiencies, Meeker says some of that also comes from how those nutrients and micronutrients are applied.

“When we look at nutrient applications, I think we’re getting pushed from not only wanting to raise yield goals, but also meet environmental standards. And as we look to push that we think about banding. One example that I thought of today, would we rather go eat lunch at a Golden Corral where we have all of our food right in front of us, or would you rather go to the Amazon rainforest and pick berries and nuts and fruit to get all that we need? We’re all going to pick Golden Corral, right? It’s no different than raising corn. You banned those nutrients, the more efficiencies you’re going to get, the better the plant is going to consume it, the higher yields we’re going to have.” 

Meeker says the final component of the equation for a high-yielding corn crop is keeping the plant healthy as long as possible.

“Absolutely, so we can check every box in the book, but if we get to pollination and our plant dies early due to any disease, tar spot, gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight, if we don’t allow that plant to optimize a finish, we’re not going to achieve maximum yield potential and we’re going to basically ruin everything that we’ve done to get to that point. So, a fungicide is a key piece, and scouting to know what we have at tassel/pollination time to maximize our yield potential.” 

For support reaching your yield and profitability goals, reach out to your local LG Seeds agronomist or visit LGSeeds.com.