12/21/2021

Unlocking the Power of Qrome® Products for Corn-on-Corn

Written by Andy Zessin, @az.farms

Photo - Author Andy Zessin - field and irrigation equipment in background

Looking back on the 2021 growing season, we have a lot to be thankful for. To briefly go over our season, we came off a drought in 2020 that left some yield half of what we wanted. After receiving several inches of rain in March, we remained pretty dry all summer, having to start pivots up in May to avoid disaster. Despite feeling dry all summer, our dryland fields kept having just enough rain to keep them alive till August when the faucet turned back on, and we were blessed with 2” of rain on August first which made our crop. Outside of a few hail-damaged fields, we saw many record-setting yields.

Corn following corn has been a significant asset for us in the last several years; it allows our production to flow with the market. When fertilizer is high, we may plant more beans; if the price of beans doesn’t justify growing them, we can continue to plant corn.

Several issues can come up with planting corn following corn; two of the most important for us are insect & disease pressure and fighting heavy residues in our no-till conditions. These lead to a yield drag compared to a conventional corn-bean rotation. However, over the last couple of decades, we have seen a narrowing in that yield gap, going anywhere from 15% to 0-5% yield loss today.

We narrowed this gap several ways; one of the most important things we do is utilize Pioneer® brand Qrome® genetics. Qrome uses the same triple-stack technology we have used in the past to fight insect pressure like corn rootworm, but it uses a more efficient breeding process that gives us access to more hybrids. In 2019, we tested Qrome and compared it to our traditional triple-stack hybrids. Not only did it win that contest, but it also came out on top of all our hybrids that season. Since then, we have solely used Qrome products on corn-on-corn ground.

Planning ahead to the 2022 growing season, we still plan to utilize Qrome hybrids when necessary, but we expect to see a drop in the amount of corn on corn acres we plant. Without those acres, we will have less need for the triple stack technology in Qrome. The high price of nitrogen fertilizer has made corn on corn less profitable than in previous years due to the higher volume of nitrogen needed. We intend to watch the fertilizer and corn marker closely and switch any acres back that we can. Qrome will be our first option of corn to plant on those acres.

 

Andy Zessin farms corn, soybeans, alfalfa and wheat in Madison, Nebraska. Follow him on Instagram.


Aerial photo - corn harvest

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