Corn Establishment and Yield Following Partial Stover Harvest

Objectives

  • New markets and increasing residue management challenges are driving interest in corn stover harvest.
  • While retaining a portion of stover in fields helps to protect soil from erosion and sustain organic matter, removing excess material has the potential to benefit a subsequent corn crop.
  • The objective of this research was to assess corn establishment and yield following partial stover harvest the previous fall.
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Study Description

Design: On-farm strip trials 
Locations:   14 in total (8 in 2012 + 6 in 2013) 
Treatments:  No or partial (~50%) stover harvest 
Replications:    3 replications per location 
Tillage:  Fall chisel plow + spring field cultivation 
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Location of on-farm stover harvest trials in central Iowa in 2012 and 2013.

Results

  • Stand establishment was more rapid with partial stover harvest, but harvested and non-harvested strips achieved similar stands within a month of planting.

Stand establishment advantage with partial stover harvest in 2012 and 2013 (average across locations).

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Corn yield advantage with partial stover harvest in 2012 and 2013.
(Each bar represents the average yield advantage with stover harvest at a single location.)

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  • Partial stover harvest increased corn yield at 86% of trial locations, with an average yield gain of 4.5 bu/acre.

2012 and 2013 data are based on average of all comparisons made in 14 locations through November 20, 2013. Multi-year and multi-location is a better predictor of future performance. Do not use these or any other data from a limited number of trials as a significant factor in product selection. Product responses are variable and subject to a variety of environmental, disease, and pest pressures.  Individual results may vary.

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