With nearly 7,200 acres, including 3,500 acres of corn, along the Missouri-Iowa border, Gary Porter has taken many opportunities to test and incorporate different practices into his cropping operation.
No-tilling two-thirds of his acres, including all highly erodible land, with the help of two nephews, his brother and wife, the Mercer, Mo., farmer shares seven things he’s learned about making no-till corn perform at a high level.
Porter will test up to 40 corn hybrids each year, including a number of experimental numbers for Pioneer Hi-Bred. He’ll use 10 hybrids on his production acreage.
“I really think every grower should test at least 10 hybrids,” he says. “The university trials are a good place to start, and I pick out the top five hybrids. Then I’ll look at the side-by-side trial results you find in different books and magazines. Finally, I’ll look at my own trials.
“After 3 to 4 years of using a certain hybrid, chances are 80% or better that there is a better hybrid out there by that time.”
With the 10 hybrids he uses on his farm, Porter is able to select ones that will perform best in different soil types, planting dates and moisture. He likes to no-till a shorter maturity hybrid first around the end rows of bigger fields.
“Pioneer 35F40 is a 105-day corn that we plant first,” Porter says. “We’re able to harvest the end rows of fields with that hybrid by Sept. 15…