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A life-long student of interdisciplinary corn production is what C. LeRoy Deichman calls himself. His long career led him to research plant physiology, genetics and pathology, and to invent a novel cropping system to increase crop productivity
Deichman is chief agronomist at Deichman Consulting in Shelbyville, Mo., and the inventor of the solar corridor crop system (SCCS), a wide-row configuration designed to increase solar radiation to all plants in a field, thereby increasing productivity. It’s a technique Deichman patented in 2000 based on years of field research data. Over the last two decades, he’s continued to push the concept further.
In conventional corn planting systems, the corn plant's leaves convert “a smaller-than-desired” portion of the sunlight that shines on the field into photosynthetically active solar radiation (PAR). PAR is the portion of the light spectrum used by plants for photosynthesis.
Deichman says while all production factors are necessary for maximum productivity, PAR is arguably the most basic contributor to crop yield. The SCCS design maximizes the capture of PAR.
“The strategy of the solar corridor is to plant corn rows far enough apart so that every active chloroplast on that corn plant can turn incident radiation or direct sunlight into photosynthetically active radiation,” Deichman says.
A Laredo forage soybean floor crop can provide significant weed suppression, Deichman says. It can also be grazed after corn harvest, and the frost-killed residue can protect soil while also offering a source of mineralized nitrogen in the spring. Photo by:…