David Wolfskill, corn grower from Wernersville, Pa., knows how to grow 300+ bushels of yield-contest corn per acre, as detailed in April's American Agriculturist issue. As he puts it: "I'm not trying to raise 400-bushel corn. I'm trying to figure out how to not lose corn's 400-bushel genetic potential."
With a whole farm average of close to 200 bushels an acre, this long-time no-tiller shares these tips:
•Early-planted corn is almost always the best. He plants 30-inch-row corn until it's done, then drops down the extra row units to plant 15-inch row soybeans. "Planter seed spacing and depth control is still better than with a drill – and faster."
•Set up the planter to plant your hardest-to-penetrate soils. That's why he switched to spiked closing wheels to minimize seedbed compaction particularly on his shale ground.
•Know what nutrients are available to your plants and what they take up when. That means aggressive soil testing, stalk tests and tissue testing – consistently in the same areas for longer-term references.
•How's your soil pH? If it's too low, nutrients are locked away from your crop. Don't skimp on lime, which he uses to keep soil pH between 6.7 to 6.8.
•GIPS-controlled shut-offs on planter row units pay off, saving a lot of seed, especially in small fields and with larger equipment.
•Whether it's your planter, sprayer or combine, it needs to be set up properly every year, or you fail – not your machine.
•You have no excuse for not seeking out tech support. You're already paying for it, and you'll pay more if you don't use it. Learn from the successes and failures of others as well as your own.
For more on Wolfskill's corn growing ideas, see your April issue or click here
for the electronic version.