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Study shows benefits of early emergence, shredding stalks in no-till systems

Agriculture.com Staff 12/05/2008 @ 8:41am

With the rise in continuous corn production and the growing popularity of no-till, growers are looking to combine these two practices while still maximizing yields.

That's why Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, and the University of Missouri are joining forces in a four-year study to research the impact of high residue/corn stover on yields in corn-after-corn, no-till fields.

The first wave of studies shows that hybrids with stronger emergence scores bring home greater yields to growers in high-residue fields, as does shredding stalks.

"At Pioneer, we receive many questions from growers about the breakdown of residue," says Greg Luce, Pioneer area agronomist in eastern Missouri, according to a Pioneer company report. "Growers want hybrids that have great stalk integrity, but following the growing season, have the ability to break down as well."

The four-year study will compare several methods of working with residue, including no-till fields where corn is planted between residue, stalks are shredded into small pieces, stalks are baled, nitrogen is applied to increase stalk degradation and row cleaners are used during planting.

"This study is important for today's growers," says Bill Wiebold, state Extension specialist for corn and soybeans at the University of Missouri. "In recent years, growers have been planting more continuous corn. We want to make sure yields aren't suppressed in high-residue situations."

The study will be conducted over a series of four growing seasons, ending in 2011. Yields for this year's study ranged from 170 bushels per acre on the low end to 200 bushels per acre on the high end. The study takes place at the University of Missouri Bradford Research and Extension Center near Columbia, Missouri.

"This is a practical farming research study that will offer answers to growers across the Corn Belt," says Luce. "There is not a great deal of industry research available to share with growers on the topic of managing high residue. With this study, we will be able to provide growers with helpful management suggestions and assist them in making the greatest possible profit from our products."

The study is part of the Pioneer Crop Management Research Awards (CMRA) program that provides funds for agronomic and precision-farming studies by university and USDA cooperators throughout North America.

With the rise in continuous corn production and the growing popularity of no-till, growers are looking to combine these two practices while still maximizing yields.

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