What is in this article?:
- Southern growers want to know specifically how to make 300-bushel corn yields.
- Many factors contribute to higher corn yields, including irrigation and good weather conditions.
- Producers should know their input costs when shooting for top corn yields.
MANY FACTORS INFLUENCE high corn yields, and input costs must be taken into consideration, says Jason Kelly, University of Arkansas Extension agronomist.
Three-hundred bushel corn appears to have become a new standard of sorts in the Southern U.S., with many growers making that much and more in recent years. But since it’s such a recent phenomenon, little research has been conducted into the inputs necessary for achieving such yields.
“In 2012 in Arkansas, we had one individual with a confirmed 300 bushels of corn per acre. And then this past year, we had some growers who topped that,” said Jason Kelley, University of Arkansas Extension agronomist, at the Alabama Corn/Wheat Short Course in Shorter.
Typically, whenever presentations are made about 300-bushel corn, all of the inputs into these fields are not divulged, he says.
“There are a lot of presentations out there on how to make 300, even 400-bushel corn, and sometimes it can be confusing, especially when it comes to applying it to your operation.
"Growers really want to know what raises the bar, and what really impacts 300-bushel corn. We’ve made higher yields in the last couple of years, and we want to know how to keep making those,” says Kelley.
Corn yields in Arkansas have been increasing rapidly, he says, with a record-high average yield of 182 bushels per acre in 2013.
“We’re doing a lot of things right in Arkansas, and a key is that we have a lot of irrigation. Back in 1970, about 5 percent of our corn ground was irrigated, and we were averaging about 40 bushels per acre. Since then, we’re all the way up to about 95 percent irrigated, and yields have been following that. Irrigation helps to level out some of the ups and downs, but it doesn’t automatically give us 300-bushel corn,” he says.
In fact, several states set corn yield records this past year, says Kelley. Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia all set records in 2013, in addition to Arkansas.
A lot of factors contribute to high corn yields, he adds, including good weather with plenty of rainfall and cooler temperatures, all of which occurred this past year. “Of course, hybrid and planting date also are factors, in addition to plant population, row spacing, good uniform emergence, fertility, irrigation, pest management, timely harvest and everything else.”