Best Corn Ideas From No-Till Winners

Higher fertility, narrow rows, soil-testing changes, higher plant populations, insect-resistant hybrids, yield monitors, soil additives and no-tilling corn into wheat stubble were among the unique ideas used by the top finishers in the three no-till categories in the 1997 yield contest conducted by the National Corn Grower’s Association.

1. Bruce Ford, Hermiston, Ore., 334.1 bushels per acre with irrigation

After harvesting wheat in July, Ford irrigated the field to encourage volunteer small grain growth. He grazed cattle all winter, pulled the cattle out in late March, burned down wheat stubble with Roundup and no-tilled Pioneer 3335 at 40,000 plants per acre on April 19 with a John Deere 1700 planter.

2. Leila Beaver, Sterling, Neb., 313.4 bushels per acre with irrigation

The family no-tilled Pioneer 32J55 at 39,000 plants per acre in 30-inch rows on April 25 with a John Deere 7200 planter.

At this population, they’re pushing things too much. “The problem is the stand gets too thick,” says Ken Beaver Jr. “When you plant this thick, every plant is fighting for survival and some don’t get enough sun and air.”

The Beavers are also rethinking soil testing. They’ve sampled soils in the fall in the past, but think spring testing might be better. Their reasoning? Too many things can happen over the winter to change fertility levels.

3. Hawman Farms, Hermiston, Ore., 290.4 bushels per acre under irrigation

On April 15, they no-tilled Pioneer 3225 in 22-inch rows at 45,000 plants per acre. With their Mono­sem vacuum plus…

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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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