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How field selection affects silage yields.

Agronomy Bulletin 24 ─ Selecting Silage Fields

Situation

Before planting, producers planning to use Mycogen® brand BMR and TMF corn hybrids should carefully select which fields will be used for corn silage in order to maximize quality and yield.

Factors to Consider

  • Soil texture
  • Crop rotation
  • Fertility
  • Pesticide plans

Action Plan

  1. Evaluate soil type. Compaction can limit root growth and crop yields for several years. Soils high in clay content are at greater risk for compaction and take longer to recover. Achieving fast germination and strong, early vigor also are of more concern with heavy clay soils. It is also important to avoid high sand soils that are sensitive to drought. This is especially a concern in more arid regions of the country. Wait to plant until soil temperatures reach above 55 F to reduce emergence problems.
  2. Consider crop rotation. Crop rotation is a good management tool and should be used when feasible. Most crops have higher yield potential when following a different crop family (e.g., grasses following legumes). Credit nitrogen (N) as appropriate, and remember to apply enough N to cover soil tie-up from immobilization as the previous crop residue is broken down.
  3. Test soil fertility. Proper fertility is a requirement to maximize yield potential for any crop. Test soil and manure to develop a comprehensive nutrient management plan and determine if adequate nutrients are available. If you are planting Mycogen® brand BMR corn hybrids, consider additional fertilizer and increasing potassium (K) 5 to 20 percent. Increasing N slightly and split-timing application will improve uptake and plant health. Applying manure can supply a significant amount of N, K and phosphorus (P), as well as organic material.
  4. Monitor herbicide and insecticide programs. It is a good idea to look over the field history for potential problems, such as herbicide carryover issues, tough perennial weeds and insect pressure. Hybrids with in-plant insect protection like Herculex® Insect Protection and SmartStax® technology reduce insect damage and can protect against insects like black cutworm. Seed treatments that are applied to all Mycogen brand corn hybrids also can help prevent damage from seedcorn maggot and wireworm. Work with a Mycogen Seeds representative to pick the hybrid that will perform the best in your area.

Summary

Take the time to evaluate these factors as you select the right fields for Silage-Specific hybrids to maximize yield potential. For more information, contact your local Mycogen Seeds customer agronomist or trusted agronomic adviser.

Published on Saturday, December 27, 2014