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No-Till Notes: Producing no-till corn

By Mark Watson
Panhandle no-till educator

Producing corn in a no-till crop production system has been done successfully for quite some time across many different growing regions in the U.S. On our farm we have learned over the years some planting tips that help insure a successful crop.

Paul Jasa, UNL extension engineer and no-till crop production specialist has presented numerous talks around the Panhandle. Paul always emphasizes uniformity in planting when it comes to producing no-till corn. Producers need to look at uniform residue distribution during the previous crop's harvest which results in uniform soil and moisture conditions throughout the field at planting time. This leads to uniform crop emergence. Paul has determined through his research that a uniform stand with even emergence is critical when it comes to crop performance and yield.

Consistent seed placement is also very important when it comes to crop emergence. Having enough weight on the planter to eliminate planting units from riding up and over residue is important to consistent planting depth. The planting units need enough weight and down-pressure so the opening discs can slice through the residue rather than ride up on top the residue.

Corn seed needs to be placed a minimum of two to two-and-a-half inches deep. The closing wheels on planters are designed to close the seed vee at a depth of two to three inches, so planting shallower will cause poorer seed to soil contact. Seed planted shallow also interferes with root development in the young plants leading to poor crop performance.

Paul's message when planting no-till corn is to think uniformity. Uniform residue from the previous harvest will lead to uniform soil temperature and moisture during the planting season. Uniform depth of seed placement will produce uniform crop emergence giving each plant an equal chance at success.

Don't forget the upcoming No Till workshops being held around the Panhandle. Plan now to make it to one, or all.

Feb. 9, Paxton at the Paxton Community Center, 9 a.m. to noon; Ogallala at the Big Mac Visitors Center, 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Feb. 18, Chappell at the Fire hall, 9 a.m. to noon; Sidney at the WNCC Sidney campus, 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Feb. 19, Kimball at the fairgrounds, 9 a.m. to noon.

Regional no-till educational meetings

Feb. 11, Nebraska State No-Till Conference at the Ag Center (fairgrounds) in Holdrege.

March 10, 11, 12, Forage Crop Workshop, Bismark, N.D.

We have planned a producer workshop for those interested in incorporating forage crops into their crop rotations for cattle forage. Cattle provide a great alternative for producing forage while improving the soil for crop production. Area farmers and NRCS soil conservationists from Bismark will provide a two day workshop to demonstrate the system they have integrated into this forage-crop production rotation.

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