No-Till Corn Stand Establishment.
III. Planting Date and Hybrid
R.L. (Bob) Nielsen ,
Agronomy Department ,
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
- Don't push early planting in no-till.
- Place hybrids wisely. Identify strengths and weaknesses for no-till.
Given that uniform stands of corn are important for maximizing the yield
potential of any given field (No-Till Corn Stand
Establishment. I., P&C Newsletter, 4/5/96, No. 3) and that
surface trash plays an important role in prevent uniform stands (No- Till Corn Stand Establishment. II., P&C
Newsletter, 4/5/96, No. 3), what's a guy to do to ensure uniform stands of
no-till corn? Here's a few tips and ideas to consider.
Planting Date Management. Okay, be honest with me. How many of
you guys that no-till corn plant as early or earlier than when you planted into
conventional tillage? After all, no-till ground supports equipment pretty dang
well, doesn't it? Considering that the most common complaint I hear from
disheartened no-till corn farmers revolves around "cold, wet soils",
maybe.....just maybe....we should be planting no-till corn a little later than
conventional till corn? Allowing the soil to warm up a tad and dry out a bit
may be advantageous enough to outweigh the negative effects that we usually
consider with delayed planting. Remember, soil temperatures at the seed depth
should be consistently greater than 50 degrees F to encourage rapid corn
germination and emergence within seven days after planting.
Hybrid Selection. The key factors for choosing hybrids for
no-till environments are 1) overall yield performance, 2) hybrid traits
important for no-till, and 3) seed quality.
- Overall Yield Performance. It is important to first identify
hybrids with demonstrated long-term superior performance, regardless of tillage
system. Use multi-year or multi-location data, look for hybrids that yield five
to ten percent above the average within a given trial, and look for hybrids
that yield well in more than one trial (i.e., consistency).
- Hybrid Traits for No-Till. Once you've identified a group of
otherwise good yielding hybrids, then identify hybrid strengths and weaknessess
important to no-till. Ask for hybrids that germinate and emerge well in cool
soils. Also ask for hybrids that demonstrate strong early growth habits, likely
indicating cold tolerance of the roots or growing point. Finally, insist on
disease tolerance or resistance for diseases important in your area.
- Seed Quality. Remember that a hybrid with the best genetic
yield potential in the world may fall apart in no-till if seed quality is poor!
Seed quality for any given hybrid can vary from year to year, seed lot to seed
lot, and company to company. A seed lot's warm germination rating is one
indicator of seed quality and is printed on the seed tag. Warm 'germs' are
usually not an issue, however, since most hybrids are sold with warm 'germ'
ratings of 95 percent or greater. Cold germination ratings attempt to predict a
seed lot's ability to germinate in cold, wet soils. Many seed companies reject
seed lots with cold 'germ' ratings less than 85 percent. Cold 'germs' are not
typically printed on the seed tag, so you need to ask your seed dealer for the
numbers. Cold 'germ' ratings can be compared most accurately among hybrids of a
given company, but less so among hybrids of different companies because there
is no standard cold 'germ' laboratory testing procedure accepted across the
Bottom Line on Hybrid Selection. Identify superior yielding
hybrids. Eliminate those with obvious weaknesses for no-till. Accept only
Return to the the Chat 'n Chew
The Corn Growers Guidebook , a WWW
resource for corn management systems in Indiana and the eastern CornBelt.
Purdue University Agronomy Extension
WWW Home Page.
Purdue Agronomy On-Line! ,
Purdue's Agronomy Department WWW Home Page.
End of Document