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Top corn tips

Jeff Caldwell 04/18/2011 @ 1:59pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Want 200-bushel corn every year? Though we have "entered a new era in corn production characterized by higher annual rates of yield improvement," a lot goes into those higher yields, say Ohio State University crop specialists.

"These higher rates are attributed to several factors, including genetic technologies that allow for greater expression of corn genetic yield potential by withstanding various crop stresses," according to Peter Thomison, Ohio State University (OSU) crop scientist, and OSU soil fertility & nutrient management specialist Robert Mullen in a recent report.

But, there's no such thing as a free lunch: Each of the inputs to 200-bushel corn carries a price tag, and the right balance between those prices and reasonable yield expectations is a good target to shoot for, Thomison and Mullen say.

"In the quest for high yields, considerable attention has been given to increasing various inputs, including seeding rates and fertilizers, narrowing row spacing, and making preventative applications of foliar fungicides, growth regulators and biological stimulants. However, the additional costs of some of these practices and inputs may prohibit their use except perhaps for those growers interested in participating in corn yield contests on high yielding sites," they say.

"A more practical and economic approach to achieving high yields is to follow proven cultural practices that enhance corn performance. Not only are these practices the foundation for successful corn production but they will also help exploit the yield potential offered by new technologies," Thomison and Mullen add.

Here are the practices Thomison and Mullen suggest focusing on when working to attain 200-bushel corn yields:

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