From the Farm: Growing high yielding corn

Local News

PONTIAC, Ill. (WCIA) — High yielding corn requires a lot of time and labor, more than just planting and harvesting. 

Chief Agronomist Jason Webster of the Precision Planting research farm in Pontiac says part of the secret is multiple applications of nitrogen

“We like spoon feeding along,” says Webster. “One thing to remember on corn is we’ll set the first yield determination when the corn is about this tall at V-5.  That’s when it sets rounds on the ear. Whether it is 14, 16, 18, 20 around. We want to make sure we’ve got enough nitrogen to through that point and then we can monitor the season. We soil test.  We do tissue testing to find out where we’re at or where our fuel tank is going. And then we can make those applications what I call, “to finish.” Today, I called it the ‘F-word.’ 

“We call it finish, the finishing of the crop to make sure we’ve got enough nutrients so it doesn’t run out.   Most of our nitrogen we apply 3 times during the season, we put one with our shot of herbicide, before we plant. The second one comes on the planter, as we plant.  That represents half our nitrogen and then we come back one more time, when the corn, preferably for me is about waist high with that other 50%. And that’s been a pretty nice, well-rounded program for us.”

WCIA asks, how often do you tissue test?

“We like to tissue test every 10 days and its hard to do it and you have to be careful of cost, but we are constantly driving to the lab, dropping samples off,” says Webster. “One of the things we do is pull our samples at the same time of day every time we pull them.

“So it is always consistent. And we don’t let them sit overnight.  We go right to the lab. We pull them fresh from the field and go right to the lab. That’s part of the battle, but you’ve got to be out in the field, taking it in the same spot, same time of day, keep everything consistent.”

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