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Learning from 2019 for 2020

Livingston County farmer Jay Whalen checks his soil through cover crops last spring / CIFN file photo.

There are plenty of things we all learned from the interesting 2019 growing season which we can use to prepare for 2020.

The goal for several corn growers was to maximize yield potential by putting full season varieties out there. Even with a June 3 planting date, Robert Clark of Stone Seed still observed the highest yields from a maturity range of 110-114 days.

“Obviously, that June 3 planting date had a yield advantage to it,” Clark said.

Fuller season hybrids will be wet in a late planting year but so will the earlier ones. Many late season issues last year were related to crown rot and planting into wet, compacted soils led to these problems.

“Think of it as a higher-yielding field problem.”

In order to properly manage stalk and root health moving forward, hybrids have different levels of tolerance. The key is reducing early and in-season stress as much as possible by utilizing nematicide treatments. A fungicide application is typically successful as it preserves the stalk.

Here in 2020, many growers are wondering want to plant first – corn or soybeans. Beans have more to gain from yield versus corn by early planting although they are more susceptible to late frost events and possible stand loss. Beans are also more forgiving in cold, wet conditions.

Planting two weeks earlier can lead to a 12 bushel response.

“Do not underestimate what a seed treatment can do in an early planting scenario,” Clark explained.

When planting corn, you must focus on the right conditions and not the date on the calendar. This means warm soil temperatures with decent soil moisture. Fast and uniform emergence is the goal with corn.

Clark suggests burying spring applied anhydrous deep into the ground by injecting at a minimum of six inches below the surface. You may want to consider a split application with in-season side dressing to lower the rate and minimize risk for plant injury.

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