Tips for Establishing a High-Yield Corn Crop

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When deciding on which corn hybrid to grow, it’s important to ensure you know the average corn heat units for your area so you can pick the corn product with the closest corn relative maturity rating for your farm. Once you know this, you can then pick the field that will get your corn off to the best start possible for your chosen end use of either grain, grazing or silage.

Field Preparation

Strip till or conventional till is encouraged to increase soil temperatures. Ideal temperature for planting is 10°C, but if it’s necessary to plant at cooler soil temperatures ensure weather forecast calls for a warming trend. Imbibing cold water in the first 24-48 hours after planting can be detrimental to corn seeds, plant population and even field emergence vs. early vigour.

Fertility Requirements

For a 120 bu/ac grain yield or 15 Ton/ac silage yield crop are approximately 120 lbs N – 55 lbs P – 120 lbs K – 22 lbs S

  • Per Ton of wet silage you will need around 8 lbs N, 3.5 lbs P, 8 lbs K
  • For N and K20 application, you need a 2”x 2” separation from the corn seed and fertilizer band

Planting Rate

Target 30,000-34,000 seeds/acre. Most studies suggest the early maturing hybrids we grow in Western Canada produce the best returns at populations above 30,000. Seeding at the high end of this target range will help ensure your crop achieves this population.

Planting Depth

Target uniform seed placement at 2” depth in good moisture to achieve uniform emergence and plant maturity. It is also important to seed deep enough to ensure adequate moisture for germination and emergence, with good seed to soil contact.

Six Steps for Planting a Successful Corn Crop

1. Getting the Planter Ready

  • Ensure meters, discs and closing wheels are operating properly
  • Ensure planter is running level

2. Seed Bed is Ready

  • Ensure an even planting surface
  • Ensure crop residue won’t interfere with seed to soil contact
  • Ensure soil temperature is 10°C at planting depth

3. Planting Depth

  • Plant at least 1.5 inches deep or deeper into moisture
  • Monitor down pressure actively as field conditions change
  • Check depth every 40 acres, or as soil/field conditions change

4. Furrow Closure

  • Ensure furrow is closing properly
  • Check seed to soil contact

5. Population/Singulation

  • Check # seeds being planted per
  • 1/1000th acre - lift up closing wheel
    • 30 inch spacing - 17ft. 5 in
    • 22” spacing - 23ft. 10 in
    • 20” spacing - 26ft. 1 in
  • Check to ensure seeds are evenly spaced in seed trench/furrow

6. Planting Speed

  • Base speed on field conditions
  • Target 5 MPH but adjust base on seed bed quality

By purchasing Pioneer® brand corn, you not only get high-yielding corn products but you also get top-end agronomy, field service and support from your trusted Pioneer Sales Representative.