Q. What should I consider when growing corn?
A. Hybrid selection, seeding depth, proper equipment and plant populations are a few things to think about when planning your corn crop.
With the variability in any crop season, growing multiple hybrids can offset risk during the season. Additionally, planting hybrids with different relative maturity rates helps provide greater flexibility when harvesting. For optimal performance, consider the required corn heat units (CHU) for your area and select hybrids according to usage and local performance.
Seeding depth is often overlooked but it’s critical to any hybrid’s success. Recommended seeding depth is two to 2.5 inches. If planting conditions are wet and cool, decrease your depth to 1.5 inches, but no shallower. Seeding corn too shallow can lead to emergence, standability and root development issues. Maintaining adequate soil moisture and following a recommended seeding depth will help minimize these problems.
Corn planters provide ideal precision in seed depth and placement. Using a corn planter ensures that the seed will be sown at a uniform rate and depth preventing any inconsistency in delivery issues.
Air seeders do not provide the precision required to establish corn uniformly. Maintain planting speed below five m.p.h.
Target corn plant populations can vary across growing environments. Several factors go into determining plant population, such as the corn hybrid maturity, soil type, soil moisture and fertility. Modern hybrids allow for increased plant populations while increasing yield. Average target plant populations are increasing over time, along with average yields. For optimal results, ask your local agronomist to determine which plant population is right for you.
Paul Rogalsky is a Proven Seed representative for Nutrien Ag Solutions in Manitoba.