Before we let corn planter performance and early corn stands get too far into the rearview mirror, here are a few observations from Spring 2016.

1. Residue Management

High residue situations can improve soil structure and water infiltration, but residue pinched into the seed trench or interfering with emergence may set a plant back so that it is delayed compared to its neighbours and result in yield reductions.

Of all the corn planter attachments I have tried over the years, unit-mounted row cleaners with down pressure control are perhaps my favourite.  They are an obvious advantage in no-till, but can add some real seedbed improvements in a range of other tillage and residue situations.


 

2. Seed Trench Closing

On occasion, depending on clay content or seedbed moisture at planting time, good seed trench closure can be a challenge.  When the seed gets initially into the moisture these seeds will often germinate and emerge even when trenches are not well closed, but almost invariably these plants suffer stress at the growing point and in nodal root establishment that makes them poor performers.

In some situations, a spiked closing wheel and chains on the row unit can do a better job of ensuring good seed trench closure and cover.  Elgin Reid, a new Maizex dealer in the Milton area has equipped his planter for good seedbed conditions even when planting no-till on some heavier soils.

 

3.  Seedbed Aggregate Fineness

Whether your farming operation employs full tillage, vertical tillage, no-till or something in between, the essence of uniform emergence can often be related back to seedbed fineness.

Of course, no-tillers and strip-tillers will argue that this zone of fine aggregates can be quite small.  If you are noticing a lack of uniformity in early corn development, it may often come back to a seedbed that is too rough.  Now is a good time to evaluate corn stand uniformity and to investigate options for improvement – either on your corn planter or in your tillage system.   

 

Greg Stewart
Maizex Seeds Agronomy Lead

 

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