Corn-after-corn management tips

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In recent years, high corn prices prompted many growers to increase the proportion of corn acres in their operations. However, DuPont Pioneer agronomists say a continuous corn management system presents several challenges.
Below are some management tips to keep in mind when going with a corn-on-corn production system.

  • Fields with good tilth and water-holding capacity are ideal for corn-on-corn. The yield penalty for this production system is much lower in high-yield environments.
  • Hybrid selection is critical when growing corn after corn. Look for scores on stress emergence, high residue suitability, disease resistance, drought tolerance and stalk and root strength.
  • High corn residues can result in cooler, wetter soils at planting, higher disease and insect levels, nitrogen tie-up and planting challenges.  Minimizing residue and using foliar fungicides helps manage these environmental conditions.
  • Research has shown that yield reductions for continuous vs. rotated corn are often greater in stress years, probably due to a reduced root system. Managing rootworms and preventing compaction can help diminish this problem.
  • More nitrogen will likely be needed when producing corn after corn vs. corn after soybeans. Corn residues tie up nitrogen during the decomposition process.
  • Planting corn into fields with soybean stubble first in spring allows wetter continuous corn ground time to dry. This can reduce sidewall compaction that limits root growth and leads to uneven stands.

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