If you struggle to manage the residue levels in your corn-on-corn acres, you aren’t alone. With the focus on using higher plant populations and narrow rows–not to mention increasingly tough cornstalks—farmers have more residue to manage than ever before. Farm Journal Agronomists Ken Ferrie and Missy Bauer provide the following agronomic tips and reminders to help you accomplish that goal this fall and in a fashion that will help you prepare for 2011.
Know your residue needs.
To qualify for government conservation programs, you need to leave a minimum amount of residue on your fields. In some cases, the requirement is upwards of 30%. Make sure you know the requirements in order to comply.
Tillage practices play a huge role in determining the amount of residue you will want to leave in fields after harvest this fall.
Ferrie says if you use no-till practices exclusively, harvest corn so the stalks left behind are no more than 24” tall. Shorter is even better.
“Those shorter stalks will be much easier to deal with when you plant next spring,” he says. “It also minimizes potential damage to your planter tires.”
At the same time, having corn residue readily available to protect the soil surface is important, especially in those areas that historically face soil and water erosion issues.
“In northern areas, we try to speed-up residue breakdown, but it’s often the opposite in some of the southern states,” Bauer says. “A lot of times farmers there need to preserve residue to protect their soils.”
For more tips, read the full article on Agweb.com.
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