Farming is a science. Understanding the way that nutrition, weather, soil conditions and seed type interact to produce a crop requires an incredible depth of knowledge. Since the most crucial factor in farming (weather) is uncontrollable, the most successful growers are those who learn as much as they can about the factors that they can control, and then use that to their advantage.
Plant nutrition and protection are key. But what about the factors that are out of our control? Dr. Below ranks his ‘Seven Wonders of the Corn Yield World,’ by bushel per acre value, and explains how they interact with each other to impact yield.
In the past couple of years, growers have started the movement of using a foundation of fungicide in the furrow to mitigate the adverse effects associated with planting into these conditions. This adoption of fungicide in the furrow has given growers greater confidence as they have seen quicker emergence as well as more overall plants compared to an untreated acre.
Dr. Fred Below from the University of Illinois describes the discrepancy between average corn yields and some extremely high yields that have recently been produced. He sees opportunity for more farmers as they prioritize and realize the importance of better crop management practices.
A good fertility plan provides crops with the nutrition they need throughout the growing season, as opposed to just one part. Applying all of your nutrition at one time is the equivalent of eating just one meal a day, and the crops will suffer because of it. The best way to achieve a solid ROI on your fertilizer purchases is to make sure that you’re taking a balanced approach to nutrition, instead of just focusing on one or two nutrients at a single application timing.