Planting as well as applying fertilizer and insecticide.
After the slow/cold start to April, we were pleasantly surprised but the fast warmup of both the air and the soil.
An array of monitors.
April 15, 2016 was our official start date this year for planting corn and by April 23 (due to a rain delay) we had all our corn in except 80 acres. We thought we’d squeeze it the last field before the weather turned against us but to no avail. Now we wait through a week of forecast rains.
Soils were fit for planting and had plenty of moisture available for good germination. We still need to get our pre-emerge herbicide on the fields but that time will come soon enough.
The current rain delay allows us to catch up on other things that get ignored when planting is the priority.
Daniel Kaiser and Fabian Fernandez
University of Minnesota Soil Fertility Specialists
Over the winter we have done intensive data compilation and analysis and have a few updates to the corn guidelines publication. The primary update is on nitrogen application rates for corn following corn and corn following soybean. The updated publication is not finished yet, so this article will serve as the current rate guidelines starting spring of 2016.
Source: Updates to Corn Fertilizer guidelines for 2016 : Minnesota Crop News : University of Minnesota Extension
We couldn’t have asked for better weather for harvesting our test plot. Yields were very consistent across the plot with yields being similar to our fields.
Fall is the time to evaluate our corn varieties in order to aid in decision making for next year’s planting. Our test plot consists of 24 – 4 row strips planted 600′ long. Walking through the plot prior to harvest helps us learn about the strengths and weaknesses of each variety. This year we looked at how many harvest-able ears we have per acre along with how many of the ears were significantly under sized in our opinions. We also looked at the stalks and how much goose-necking they were doing. This year presented us with some strong winds along with a round of hail. The hail damage to the corn was minimal but the wind definitely put the stalks to the test. Now we wait for the combine and weigh wagon to give us the final results.
Late summer means putting time into maintenance of harvest related equipment. The plastic cups on our grain leg, that handles the wet corn coming in from the fields, were getting brittle. We’ve found a couple of them stuck in various places in our grain system and succumbed to the fact that we needed to replace all 203 cups on the belt. Many of the bolts were rusted to the point where we had to either snap them off through the force of our 1/2″ DeWalt impact wrench or grind them off. After many hours the task was accomplished and we’re on to the next project!
I’m always amazed at how short the window is for building ridges in our corn. We had an area between two groves that grows fast because of the heat trapped there. We decided we better get that ridged before it was too tall. As long as we were at it we tried the shorter corn in the field and were pleased with how well the soil flowed through the cultivator. This is the most mellow soil we’ve cultivated in many years. We pushed hard and got through 75% of our corn acres and then got rained out on a Friday evening. It was Wednesday the next week before we got back in the corn. The corn had grown from 12-18″ to nearly 3′ tall in this amount of time. The soil was still on the wet side but the corn was visibly taller each day, so time was not on our side. We did get finished with the ridges as the rain held off. One more rain and some fields or areas of fields would have been too tall.
An area with no pre-emerge herbicide.
Early in spring, pre-emerge herbicide was applied to our corn fields. This picture shows how necessary that is. These 12 rows are in a location that we cannot get to with our field sprayer and no herbicide was applied early. You can see the weed pressure that exists in this part of the field. Those weeds will quickly rob the corn of it’s full yield potential.
Post emerge spraying will clean up weeds that come through the early application. Later we will cultivate these fields and build ridges in the corn that will serve as the seedbed for next year’s soybeans.
Post-emerge corn spraying.