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Planting crops after 200-bushel-plus corn.

Agronomy Bulletin 7 ─ Managing Corn Residue

Managing increased crop residue can be a challenge for today&#39;s corn grower.

Situation

Since the adoption of corn hybrids with biotechnology traits, growers have continued to see more consistent 200-bushel-plus corn crops in past seasons. However, increased yields have created the challenge of dealing with increased levels of residue when planting next year’s crop.

Factors to Consider

  • Tillage practice
  • Equipment modifications
  • Fertilizer
  • Cover crops
  • Ongoing residue management

Action Plan

  1. Consider alternative tillage practices. Conventional tillage is one effective way to manage corn residue, but may not always be possible. Two websites, sponsored by No-Till Farmer and a strip-till manufacturer, offer information on residue management and other crop production tips for both no-till and strip-till situations. Use other no-till and strip-till growers as resources to learn what works best on their operations, as well.
  2. Make equipment modifications. Ask your local equipment dealer or combine manufacturer to recommend combine modifications that can cut and spread crop residue more effectively. Adjustments to tillage equipment also could be considered.
  3. Look into products like humic acid and nitrogen. Talk to your fertilizer retailer about how these products use bacteria or nitrogen to break down plant material and help balance the nitrogen-to-carbon ratio.
  4. Plant cover crops. Look into using cover crops that extract nutrients from the residue. Talk to your local soil and water conservation representative about which cover crops fit best into your crop rotation.
  5. Incorporate residue over time with crop rotations. Rotating soybeans with corn will help to alleviate some of the buildup of plant material.

Summary

Biotechnology advances allow growers to produce more high-yielding, healthy corn crops. With higher yields comes the need to manage abundant residue. For more information, contact your local Mycogen Seeds customer agronomist or trusted agronomic adviser.

Published on Wednesday, September 11, 2013