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Agronomic Practices for Corn After Corn

 

Agronomic Practices for Corn-After-Corn Production

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Increased Corn-After-Corn Acres

  • Demand for corn remains strong causing some growers to consider including more corn in their crop rotation. For many, that means more corn-after-corn production.
  • Yield is generally lower in corn after corn. Yield reductions of 15-30 bu/acre are not uncommon in corn after corn compared to corn after soybean.
  • This yield reduction can be due to several factors, many of which can potentially be mitigated by careful agronomic management. 

Corn Yield Affected by Cropping Sequence
Corn Yield Chart

The Corn and Soybean Rotation Effect - Lauer, Porter, Oplinger
- University of Wisconsin

Factors that Reduce Corn-After-Corn Yield


Early-season challenges:

  • Heavy corn residue
  • Soil temp 5-10 degrees cooler
  • Waterlogged soils
  • Nitrogen tie-up when surface applied
  • Slow corn growth 
  • Seedling disease
  • Increased insect pressure

 
Damaged Corn Photo


Mid- and late-season challenges:

  • High disease inoculum levels, leading to increased leaf, stalk, and ear disease
  • Nitrogen deficiency


Managing Corn After Corn


Tillage

  • As tillage intensity decreases, rotation becomes more beneficial

Tillage System by Crop Rotation Interaction
Tillage System Chart
Purdue University Long-Term Tillage Study (1975-2008 Data)

Nitrogen management

  • Avoid surface nitrogen applications; corn residue will tie up nitrogen as it decomposes
  • Band nitrogen 7 to 8 inches deep
  • Consider using starter fertilizer that contains nitrogen

Disease management

  • Plant diverse genetics with good disease resistance*
  • Consider a foliar fungicide application if needed

Insect pest management

  • Plant Bt hybrids
  • Use high-rate insecticide seed treatments
  • Consider using in-furrow insecticides
  • Use foliar insecticides when needed

Corn after corn can provide good returns but requires more management and is prone to more yield risk than corn after soybean. Following the tips above, along with selecting highly productive soils, will increase the chance for success.

 

*Hybrid ratings are available in the corn product section.

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