COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Crop rotation is the key to maximizing yields while reducing potential problems with insect and diseases. However, some Ohio growers are willing to accept the risks of continuous corn production in the hopes of capturing more profit from higher corn prices.
Peter Thomison, an Ohio State University Extension agronomist, is encouraging growers to follow key management practices to help reduce the risks under continuous corn production.
"Many agronomists do not recommend continuous corn. Corn grown following soybeans typically yields about 10 percent more than continuous corn," said Thomison, who also holds a partial research appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. "Additionally, growers face many challenges with corn following corn, and they need to be aware of the issues involved with the production practice."
The biggest issue under continuous corn production is the large amount of residue that is generated. That residue can result in a variety of planting and harvesting problems, including:
"The risk and magnitude of yield drag and other problems associated with continuous corn is greatest with no-till," said Thomison. Other problems include a greater risk to western corn rootworm and longer harvest season due to time and capacity demands on machinery, drying facilities, transportation and storage.
"The longer corn sits in the field, the greater the risks to lodging, stalk rots and other diseases," said Thomison.
For growers who intend to plant corn following corn or switch part of their soybean crop to corn production, several management practices can be followed that may reduce the risks and minimize potential yield losses.
Such practices include:
"The decision to switch to continuous corn should be made carefully. Continuous corn production requires a higher level of management to achieve high yields," said Thomison. "Although short term economics may favor corn after corn, each operation is different, and understanding the risks associated with corn after corn is the first step toward managing the practice wisely and economically."
For more information on managing continuous corn, log on to the Ohio State Extension Agronomic Crops Team Web site.
SOURCE: Ohio State University news release.