Golden Harvest today released new corn hybrid performance data and agronomic management recommendations to help farmers make plans to increase corn yield potential next year. With elite corn genetics and proactive strategies to manage soil fertility and corn rootworm pressure, farmers can lay the foundation now for a successful 2023 season.
Corn performance data to guide seed decisions
Maximizing yield potential starts with selecting the right seed and placing it on the right acre. To help identify top-performing corn products, farmers should use national and local corn hybrid performance results as data points in the decision process.
Golden Harvest offers a broadly adapted corn portfolio with strong agronomics and high yield potential. In 2022, farmers saw success with Golden Harvest® corn hybrids across the Corn Belt1:
- Golden Harvest corn G00A97-AA brand outyielded DEKALB® corn by 5.0 bu/A in 269 comparisons.
- Golden Harvest corn G11V76-AA brand outyielded Pioneer® corn by 2.5 bu/A in 55 comparisons.
- Golden Harvest corn G10L16-DV brand outyielded AgriGold® corn by 4.5 bu/A in 69 comparisons.
“As harvest comes to a close, we’re seeing Golden Harvest corn hybrids deliver best-in-class performance,” said Andy Ackley, Golden Harvest corn portfolio manager ― East. “This year has proven to be a challenging year in many areas, and our products have delivered again with industry-leading tolerance to tar spot and other diseases, great late-season standability, solid agronomics, and grain quality.”
To find the right Golden Harvest corn hybrids for each field, Ackley advises farmers to:
- Check out local performance data. To see local performance data from farmers across the Midwest, view Golden Harvest corn yield results.
- Match agronomic strengths to field conditions. To discover which hybrids are right for each field’s unique challenges, visit www.GameChangingCorn.com.
- Work with a local Seed Advisor. To build a custom plan for each farm, view the Golden Harvest Seed Guide and talk with a Golden Harvest Seed Advisor.
Soil testing and nutrient management to maximize yield potential
In addition to seed decisions, farmers should be thinking about how to get the best return on their seed investment through nutrient management.
“With fertilizer prices today, we want to start with understanding what’s in the soil and available to our crops,” said Brad Koch, Golden Harvest agronomist for west and central Illinois. “The first step is to look at the pH of each field and adjust as needed. Soil pH is the foundation of soil fertility because it dictates how available soil nutrients are to the plant. If soil pH is too low or acidic, microbial processes shut down and we don’t get the availability of applied nutrients. Ideally, we’re looking for a soil pH of 6.5.”
Koch recommends farmers conduct a soil test to determine the soil’s pH and nutrient profile. Some nutrients, such as potassium and phosphorus, are stable so a soil test can reveal what farmers already have and what they need to apply. Other nutrients, such as sulfur and nitrogen, are highly mobile and will need an annual application based on yield goals.
Koch shares his soil testing tips:
- Wait three to four weeks after harvest to test soil. Crop residue needs time to break down and release potassium and other nutrients back into the soil to show a more accurate reading of what will be available to next year’s crop.
- Pick a consistent time of year to test soil. Farmers can test their soil in the fall or in the spring. The most important factor is picking a time and sticking with it to get a consistent analysis year over year.
- Test for micronutrients. If farmers are already investing in soil testing, analyze micronutrients, such as zinc, iron and manganese, along with macronutrients like phosphorus and potassium. Additionally, a base saturation test can show ratios of calcium, magnesium and sodium, which affect an array of soil health and structure attributes. A full picture of the soil nutrient profile will show yield limiting results.
“The small cost for soil sampling more than pays for itself to be able to understand and manage your soil nutrient profile and availability,” explained Koch.
He also added that farmers, armed with soil testing results, should keep an eye on these three nutrients for next year’s crop:
- Sulfur: Sulfur needs to be a part of the annual fertility process because it makes the conversion of nitrogen in the corn plant more efficient. If corn plants do not take up enough sulfate, they will not take full advantage of the nitrogen, even if enough is applied. Apply a range of 8-10 pounds of nitrogen to 1 pound of sulfur. Golden Harvest Agronomy in Action research showed a yield increase of up to 38 bu/A with a 9:1 ratio2. Across various hybrids, 17 bu/A was the average response. A return to applied sulfur will vary based on the soil’s organic matter (SOM), temperature and moisture, with lower SOM soils showing a more consistent yield increase and return on investment.
- Potassium: Potassium serves three important functions in corn crops: water use efficiency, stalk strength and disease resistance. In dry conditions, farmers may have seen potassium deficiency in their crops this year, especially if potassium fertilizer was skipped and/or soil test levels were not adequate. Use soil testing to understand each field’s needs and consider applying at least what was removed from each field based on yield.
- Nitrogen: Nitrogen is a key nutrient for corn crops. Approximately 30%-40% of corn yield is determined in the grain fill period, so if a plant runs out of nitrogen before the grain fill process is over, there will be a negative impact on yield. Since nitrogen is a mobile nutrient, take into account the fertilizer type and application timing in management plans. Applying all nitrogen in the fall means there is a risk of losing some of the nutrient by the time corn plants need it next summer. Consider applying nitrogen in the spring and “spoon feeding” it to the corn plants to maximize yield potential.
Five tips for corn rootworm management in 2023
In addition to seed selection and nutrient management, Golden Harvest agronomists recommend preparing for pests, such as corn rootworm (CRW), for a successful harvest next year. To keep the billion-dollar pest at bay, start planning for CRW now. Golden Harvest Agronomist Andrew Rupe, who covers east and central Iowa, says that while summer is the time to evaluate CRW pressure, now is the time to make plans to manage it.
“After harvesting the crop, it is very difficult to understand what the CRW populations are like on a given field if we didn’t scout during the summer,” explained Rupe. “Many of our evaluation methods are performed during the growing season, including digging roots to score and evaluate the level of CRW feeding and beetle trapping to determine the population in each field. At this point in the year, corn roots have decayed and the females have burrowed into the soil to lay their eggs. We must try to piece together what we saw while harvesting the crop: Was there root lodged or ‘goose-necked’ corn in some of our continuous cornfields? Could that root lodging be the root strength of the hybrid, or was it a result of root feeding? We should consider what our CRW management strategy looks like now and evaluate how effective the plan is for the future.”
Rupe recommends five corn rootworm management strategies, listed from most effective to least effective against CRW, to consider while planning for 2023:
- Plant a non-host crop, such as soybeans.
In most cases, rotation away from corn for a single, complete year will nearly eliminate corn rootworm pressure in that field the following year. If there are no corn roots to feed on, the insect cannot survive. Farmers in the northern Corn Belt extended diapause or eastern Corn Belt variant geographies may still need to consider some CRW control methods, but planting a non-host crop can hit the reset button for corn rootworm pressure in most fields. Also keep in mind that managing volunteer corn in the non-host crop is critical to controlling the corn rootworm population.
- Combine traits with soil-applied insecticide.
The combination of a multi-traited corn hybrid, such as DuracadeViptera™, with a soil-applied insecticide is the best combination management practice when continuous corn must be planted in a field. Farmers with a history of unexpected corn rootworm damage or excessive root feeding may benefit from adding soil applied insecticide to a traited corn hybrid at planting. There are many different soil-applied insecticides on the market, including Force® 6.5G and Force Evo. Reach out to your Syngenta Crop Protection expert to identify the right product for each field. These tactics can also be implemented individually, but they are most effective when combined.
- Plant corn hybrids with below-ground traits.
Understand which proteins and how many proteins a corn hybrid has that work against corn rootworm larvae. Corn hybrids may contain zero, one or multiple proteins against CRW larvae. DuracadeViptera offers multiple unique modes of action to preserve trait durability and delay insect adaptation for long-term field health. Michigan State University publishes a Handy Bt Trait Table to help farmers understand exactly which protein or proteins are within each hybrid’s trait package.
- Use soil-applied insecticide.
Without traits, granular insecticides are typically more effective to control larvae compared to an in-furrow insecticide that is tank mixed with liquid fertilizer. The one agronomic drawback of an in-furrow insecticide is that it requires moisture to fully activate the chemical in the root zone.
- Apply a foliar insecticide to reduce CRW adults.
In addition to other control methods, if summer scouting indicates a high population of adult CRW beetles, foliar insecticides can be utilized to reduce silk clipping and limit egg laying. This is sometimes referred to as ‘beetle bombing a cornfield’ and can lower the next generation’s CRW population. Consider the timing of your insecticide treatment to get the best control possible of the CRW adult females. If timing aligns, it may be tank mixed with an aerial fungicide application, which will help reduce application costs.
For more tips and strategies, Golden Harvest offers a library of agronomy articles with actionable data and local insights to help precisely place products for maximized performance in farmers’ fields. The Agronomy in Action 2022 Research Review provides a comprehensive review of applied and practical agronomic studies conducted during the 2021 growing season at Golden Harvest Agronomy in Action research sites.
To find better solutions for your corn and soybean acres, contact a Golden Harvest Seed Advisor at GoldenHarvestSeeds.com.
1 2022 national Syngenta internal data. For more information regarding yield comparisons against an individual product, ask your Golden Harvest Seed Advisor.
2 Golden Harvest Agronomy in Action sulfur response trials at nine locations across Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Nebraska in 2021. For more information: https://www.goldenharvestseeds.com/agronomy/articles/corn-yield-response-to-sulfur