Achieving high yields in corn and soybean farming has become a complex proposition. Fortunately for farmers, the Asgrow® and DEKALB® brands offer products specifically designed for high yields, supported by expertise from agronomists and breeders who are dedicated to superior yields in all soils and weather conditions.
There is no single formula for achieving high yields. Rather, a variety of factors must be assessed. Farmers must then select the appropriate seed, plant at the right time and in the proper manner, remain vigilant and prepare to manage multiple pest and weed stresses, all while dealing with the predictable unpredictability of farming.
Best practices for soybeans
According to Asgow and DEKALB Technical Agronomist Jim McDermott, weed management is of paramount importance for soybean producers. He estimates that between two and three percent of yield is potentially sacrificed with every inch of weed growth beyond four inches of height. Common waterhemp is a particularly persistent adversary, requiring a combination of approaches to handle it effectively.
To tackle this particular weed species, McDermott recommends the following steps:
- Select the appropriate product with the right combination of germplasm and traits.
- Plan to use multiple types of herbicide treatment.
- Plant early to achieve an early canopy.
- Space rows at 20 inches or less — this can produce up to five percent yield improvement.
- Combine pre-emergence treatments with a post-emergence residual, anticipating the long emergence window of waterhemp.
This last item is especially important, and soybean agronomists constantly emphasize the need for a multi-pronged approach to weed management with soybeans. The key feature of the approach McDermott and Asgrow recommend is the presence of the residual. During the growing season, waterhemp’s persistence is legendary, and the post-emergence residual has proven effective for its ability to fight waterhemp emergence.
In concert with these weed management practices, McDermott recommends the Asgrow Rock Star line of products. In particular, he is impressed by their proven track record across geographies, combined with their disease protection, agronomics and yield potential.
Best practices for corn
DEKALB’s team of breeders and agronomists recommend a combination of approaches to pursue superior corn yields. As with any crop, seed selection is the first choice, based on soils and climate expectations. But diligent farmers are making decisions about next year’s crop before they even buy seed. Choices about residue management over the winter have a major impact on disease, pest habitat and soil pH, each of which will have yield implications at harvest.
In recent years, variable rate planting has become a prominent tool for farmers. Advances in precision planting and soil analysis allow producers to maximize every square inch of their fields, while not wasting an ounce of nitrogen or water along the way.
Other resources available to corn farmers
Farmers who plant Asgrow and DEKALB have a wide variety of technical and agronomic expertise available to them, in the form of regional agronomists and knowledgeable and trustworthy seed dealers. For corn producers, DEKALB’s yield optimization guide, Acres of Gold, is also accessible on their website, DEKALB.com/acresofgold. University of Illinois agronomist Dr. Fred Below contributed a wealth of information to the site, including his “hierarchy of corn yield wonders.” According to Below’s research, weather accounts for 27% of yield potential, taking the top spot in his hierarchy. Even so, there are many things farmers can do to maximize that other 73% of yield potential. The remaining items in Below’s hierarchy, in order of importance, are: nitrogen, product selection, previous crop, plant population, tillage, and growth regulators.
Yield optimizing factors for corn
Overall, the DEKALB brand identifies eight factors to manage for optimal yield: environment, product selection, equipment, fertility, tillage and residue management, along with management of insects, pests and weeds. In each case, DEKALB offers products backed by extensive research, supported by expertise born of years of experience working with producers.
For more information, work with your expert Asgrow/DEKALB seed dealer or visit agSeedSelect.com.