When it comes around to the right time of year for sowing seed, it’s time to get ready to plant your next crop. When farming corn, it’s important to try and maximize the space you have available on your farm’s plot to try and generate an adequate crop and therefore adequate profit. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a relatively new farmer, there’s plenty to take into consideration.
Planting crops is hard work, as is maintaining and harvesting them. The last thing you need is to add extra worry by wondering whether you’ve planted enough or will make enough money this season. In this article, you will find some expert tips on how to increase your corn crop yield. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
Crop Yield Has Steadily Increased
Over the last century, corn crop yield has steadily increased as techniques for planting and farming have become more efficient. In 1945, you would have been expected to generate around 33 bushels per acre of farmland. Now, you should be looking to achieve over 180 bushels per acre. This has also been helped by the development of hybrid corn varieties, pesticides, and by using cover crops.
Getting as Much as Possible is Key
Of course, the last thing you want to do is under-utilize your farmland. You need to buy seed, sow it, treat the soil, maintain and monitor it throughout, and then harvest your crops. If you make any mistakes along the way you will likely lose some of your yields. This will lead to wasted money or a reduction in profit margins. You would not want to reach the end of a hardworking season to find that you have no profit in your crops, so it’s essential to do the work in advance to be sure you can generate as much yield as possible.
Calculate Your Land’s Potential
One of the first things you can do is to calculate the potential of your farmland when it comes to the corn crop. With a simple yield calculation for corn, you can analyze just how successful your land will be. All you need to know are a few simple things and you can generate your calculation.
Firstly, find the average price per bushel of corn, this is easy to do and forms the basis of your profit potential. Then, you need to do some calculations based on your land including how many ears you think you can plant per acre. Combining these with the average size of a corn ear and the number of kernels will quickly generate your potential profits for the season. This can be an amazing benchmark to help you figure out if your land is going to do well or poorly while offering you the chance to make adjustments should you feel the need to.
Plant at the Right Time
Now, onto the planting. The first thing you need to do is plant your crops at the right time. Obviously, you are aware that springtime is the best time to plant corn or other crops, but did you know that soil temperature plays a crucial part in the process? Planting around three weeks after the last frost of the winter, when the soil temperature reaches a consistent 16 degrees, is best.
That’s right, you need to be constantly monitoring the soil temperature to ensure it’s not too hot or cold to plant. When a consistent temperature is hit, plant away! This helps to make sure that your seeds get the longest and most optimal sunlight, while not being too hot or too cold.
Rotate Crop Choices
This may seem counterintuitive, but taking a year off from planting corn could help you in the years that follow. Each crop is very demanding in its own way on the soil, meaning that overusing the same fields for the same crops could result in a huge need for fertilizers – which are expensive – or crops that never grow to potential – meaning more wasted money. Rotation with soybeans is often recommended, as this is another high-yield crop, but one that generates more nitrogen, fertilizing the ground for next year’s corn.
Buy Quality Seed
Part of making sure you grow quality crops is to start with quality seeds. There are a huge variety of hybrid seeds, cross-pollinated to aid fast growth and high yield. This may be suitable for you and your land. Alternatively, non-GMO seeds can attract a higher price when sold as corn crops, so could increase your overall profit. Either way, buying cheap, poorly selected seeds will do absolutely nothing to help your chances of a high-profit season of farming.
Keep an Eye on Your Soil
The soil is the key to your crop’s growth. It should be regularly tested and monitored by eye to make sure that nothing is happening that could damage the quality of your corn. For example, walking the land – yes, walking – while looking out for any small weeds or potential soil imperfections can help you be sure that your land is primed and ready for farming.
Meanwhile, testing the soil with machinery and tools can help you too. Take soil samples to check the makeup, pH, and more. Again, this helps you understand whether your soil is ready for planting or not. You may find you need fertilizer or to try an alternative crop.
Try Cover Crops
One of the many techniques used to help with corn yield is cover crops. Cover crops are sown to help cover the soil, helping to fight against soil erosion, lost nutrients, and poor weather conditions. Using the right cover crop can help reduce the need for fertilizers, as crops like clover can help add more nitrogen into the ground, providing a better environment for your corn to grow.
Following these steps will help you increase your corn yield and find the absolute maximum potential of your fields. Sowing with the right technique, in the right soil, and at the right time are all key elements of your crop yield potential. Look after your land and your crops will return the favor, looking after you come sale time!