No-Till Tips From Corn Champ

While Francis Childs certainly doesn’t no-till, the Manchester, Iowa, farmer uses a number of ideas some ideas that you could use in your own no-tilling operation. Using a mini moldboard plow that works the soil up to 14 inches deep yet still leaves up to 40 percent soil cover from his extremely heavy continuous corn plant residue, he harvested an amazing 442.1 bushels of corn per acre last fall. For the sixth straight year, he took top honors in the 2002 National Corn Growers Association National Corn Yield Contest.

While you won’t agree with his plowing strategies, here’s a few ideas that are an important part of his corn production routine that could help you push up your no-till corn yields this year.

1. Have at least 6 percent organic matter in the soil and 13 to 14 inches of loose soil for fast root growth. The loose soil indicates that there’s plenty of oxygen in the soil, among the major keys to healthy corn that leads to quick and massive root growth and additional water storage.

2. Vigorous early growth is essential, as the number of rows of kernels is known by the time the plant reaches its fifth leaf stage.

3. Recycling organic matter from stalks and roots lets a continuous corn crop feed on itself and leads to increased future yields.

4. Using Bt hybrids for European corn borer protection reduces insect losses and boosts harvesting efficiencies.

5. When no-tilling, strive for even seed placement and good…

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Lessiter frank

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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