Recently at the 24th Annual Joint Commodities Conference, NC State corn specialist Dr. Ron Heiniger packed the room as he usually does talking about corn production in North Carolina in 2012, and into 2013. Heiniger’s primary goal is simple….grow more corn:
“We have to find a way to make more corn here. I tried to get across that we need to be a little more open to thinking about planting dates. In the past we have been stuck in our thinking that we have to plant in April. We really have a wider opportunity and need to take advantage of that. When we look across the last four years, planting in mid-May wasn’t a bad return for these guys.
We have to look at the new hybrids, including drought-tolerant ones, and match them with the right practices. In some cases a nutrient seed treatment can help where there isn’t enough to get started. Fungicides made a difference in some locations. The right component has to be there for the environment and that is part of the challenge for the growers.
We put in irrigation as hard as we could, the only thing we ran out of was steel and time. Next year a lot of growers are continuing that and we will see a lot more irrigation. We can learn from those in the Midwest, we need to manage the water.
Our biggest limitation is water, we get rain but not always when we need it. Irrigation should help us to get yields over 300.”
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Dr. Ron Heiniger, NC State Extension Corn Specialist.