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Indiana Farmer Reaches High Yield with Continuous CornIndiana Farmer Reaches High Yield with Continuous Corn

He credits weather and use of manure for success last year.

Tom Bechman 1

February 11, 2014

2 Min Read

Kevin Kalb, Dubois, doesn't like to grow soybeans. He grew some last year on river bottom land that flooded early and is back to all corn this year.

A farmer that grows continuous corn is not who you would suspect would post a top yield in the National Corn Grower's contest. Both Purdue University agronomists and other seed companies have shown a yield penalty for continuous corn in trials. Yet Kalb won his division of the National Corn Grower's contest in 2013 growing DeKalb Hybrids following several years of continuous corn.

"We've not seen the yield penalty," he says. "We continue to have good luck following corn with corn."


To end the story there wouldn't be fair. Kalb believes he has an advantage over many other famers who raise continuous corn. He farms in Jasper County, filled with livestock producers, from hogs to chickens to turkeys and cattle. He applies manure almost every year. The field that produced the top yield last year has a long history of manure application.

Related: Study Finds N Availability, Stover Affect Continuous Corn Yield Penalty

"I really think that may be the difference," Kalb says. "We apply some manure in the fall to help stalks start decomposing and then work it in with a Case IH disc ripper. It works well for us."

Knowing that an organic substance like manure can tie up N early in the season, Kalb applies some N as starter. Actually it's pop-up fertilizer because he applies it in the row. If you're trying this way of applying nitrogen, remember that there are limits on how much N you can apply in the row without damaging seeds or seedlings.

"We also add an insecticide, Capture, into that mix at planting," Kalb continues. "One insect we've seen increase is wireworm. We figure it's because of all the manure that's been applied. We need an insecticide to guard against wireworm damage. "

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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