• Plant Health
  • Apr 01, 2020

3 Management Considerations for Corn-on-Corn Acres

Early season cornfield

If you’re planting a corn-on-corn crop rotation, you know there are additional management considerations that can help you get the most from that ground. Whether it’s adjusting your fertility program or managing crop residue, even small changes to your plan could have big impacts on the crop’s productivity potential. Here are three considerations to help optimize the return on investment potential of your corn-on-corn acres.

Manage crop residue

One of the biggest challenges for corn-on-corn acres is crop residue. Without proper management, the extra plant debris in fields causes soil to remain cooler and wetter, and can contribute to reduced seed-to-soil contact. Those things combined could lead to poor or uneven plant emergence. There are several options to help manage corn residue, including different tillage methods, baling off plant debris in the fall and using a row-cleaner on your planter. Planting into a clean furrow will help get your crops off to a stronger start, and that can offer season-long benefits.

Apply plenty of nitrogen

Nitrogen management is critical to ensure your hybrids have what they need to meet their yield potential. When crops aren’t rotated with soybeans, they lose the nitrogen credits that legumes offer. Depending on the soil type, that can be up to 45 pounds of nitrogen per acre.1 The extra corn residue in soil can also tie up nitrogen and slow mineralization by soil microbes. It’s good practice to apply 30 to 50 pounds more nitrogen than you think your crop needs in the spring to overcome some of these fertility challenges.

Choose the right seed

Yield potential begins with choosing the right seed based on the agronomic challenges you expect your crop to face. And, when you have a limited crop rotation, there are more things to consider as you weigh seed options. Since corn rootworm is more problematic in corn-on-corn acres, you’ll want to be sure the hybrids you choose offer adequate protection against the pest. Stacked insect traits that protect against both above- and below-ground pests are worth the investment for non-rotational acres. If you’ve noticed heavy corn-rootworm pressure in fields, you may want to consider rotating to another crop or applying an in-furrow insecticide to manage larvae populations.

Beyond the trait package, you’ll also want to consider a hybrid’s genetics. Choosing hybrids with more tolerance to diseases, including Goss’s Wilt, gray leaf spot and northern corn leaf blight, is a good idea because those pests can overwinter on corn residue. That increases the disease inoculum in the soil, making crops more susceptible to infection. If you’ve already chosen your seed for this year, keep these things in mind as you make seed selections for corn-on-corn acres next season.

It’s critical to scout fields early and often to identify any in-season agronomic challenges that could affect return on investment potential. For more information on managing your corn-on-corn acres, contact your local WinField United retailer.

1 University of Nebraska. https://cropwatch.unl.edu/giving-proper-nitrogen-credit-legumes-corn-and-milo-rotations. 2018.

All photos are either the property of WinField United or used with permission.

© 2020 WinField United. Important: Before use always read and follow label instructions. Crop performance is dependent on several factors many of which are beyond the control of WinField United, including without limitation, soil type, pest pressures, agronomic practices, and weather conditions. Growers are encouraged to consider data from multiple locations, over multiple years, and be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results. WinField® is a trademark of WinField United.

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