11 Proven Ways to Improve Corn Yield

Corn yield is the most critical factor that can raise productivity in any farm. It has been a significant food source for over 5000 years and can be used for human consumption, ethanol production, livestock feed, and many more uses.

Corn is grown worldwide, with the United States of America being one of its biggest producers. The US Department of Agriculture estimated in 2009 that the total production of corn was 11.61 billion bushels, which is more than any other crop grown in America. 

This number equates to roughly 1/4 of what is produced and consumed across the world in a year!

It takes about an acre of land to produce an average of 291 bushels of one particular type of corn. This data can vary depending on the growing conditions and year, but 291 bushels per acre is average across America for that particular strain of corn. The corn yield calculator formula is an effective way to measure corn yield.

Many factors play into how much a corn crop will yield, such as weather, soil quality, seed quality, and the number of plants per acre, machinery used to plant and harvest, and soil preparation methods. 

Here are some proven ways to improve corn yield in any farm across America.

1) Seeding into warm, moist soil

Seeding into warm soil can encourage fast crop growth, which allows the plant to mature faster. It is beneficial because weather conditions tend to be more favorable during crop maturation. For example, corn will grow best when seeding occurs after the last frost of spring in an area with warm, moist soil. 

Warm, moist soil allows the corn seedling to grow and mature faster than when seeding into dry or colder soil.

2) Planting at the optimal planting depth

The correct seeding depth can also have benefits to corn yield. Generally speaking, planting too deep or too shallow will cause standability issues, where the corn plant can fall over and die. Additionally, at very shallow depths, seeds may not break through the soil after germination. 

It means that they are unable to start growing into a solid and sturdy stalk.

3) Planting when the temperature is ideal for corn growth

Corn should be planted when the temperature is just right for seed germination and root development. Corn has a very narrow window of temperature in which growth will occur. If temperatures are too high, then the seeds may not sprout, resulting in no corn crop at all. 

However, if the soil or air around the corn seedling gets too cold before it can establish itself, the young plant may die. Because of this narrow temperature window in which corn can grow, growers need to plant when conditions are ideal.

4) Adequate weed control

Weed control is an essential part of growing corn. Weeds will compete with the corn plants for available water and nutrients in the soil. Because corn is generally planted when growing conditions are favorable, weeds will have a much easier time spreading their seeds and growing if they are not controlled. 

Weed growth can be so prolific that it can even get ahead of the corn planting process by setting its seeds before growing into a large enough plant to shade and inhibit the weed’s growth.

5) Maintenance of soil nutrient levels

Corn needs a long list of nutrients to thrive, so growers need to maintain adequate levels of these in their soil. Adequate nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, and zinc are required for healthy corn growth. 

By maintaining these levels, corn plants will be able to grow faster and produce a higher yield.

6) Adequate sun exposure

One way to help your corn plant thrive is by making sure that it gets adequate sunlight. Corn plants are photoperiodic, which means they need at least 10 hours of direct sunlight each day for proper growth. If the plant doesn’t get enough sunlight, it won’t increase and will have difficulty maturing in time for harvest. 

In addition, if there are not enough leaves on the stalk, the plant cannot make food and will wilt and die.

7) Proper pest control

Corn is a huge plant, which means that it is susceptible to many different pests. If you notice any issues with your crop, be sure to treat the problem early to prevent widespread damage. 

For example, corn earworm moths lay their eggs on corn plants, and when they hatch into caterpillars, these pests can quickly destroy entire fields of mature corn.

8) Watering

Corn plants need adequate water to thrive and usually do best when they are watered whenever the topsoil feels dry to the touch. For corn that is planted in well-drained soils, this may only be once or twice per day. 

However, if there is poor drainage where you farm or your corn is planted in poorly draining soil, it may require more frequent watering to compensate for the water that can drain away effectively.

9) Proper nutrient management

It’s not enough to make sure the soil has adequate nutrients; you also have to be aware of how much is given and when. Applying too much fertilizer will lead to an abundance of plants but not enough nutrients for them all. Adding too little fertilizer will result in a lack of robust and healthy growth.

10) Proper seeding depth and density

Corn should be planted at the proper depth to ensure that it develops properly. A good rule of thumb is to plant your corn seeds three inches apart and then thin out the plants so that there are only one every twelve inches. It will allow enough room for strong root growth without wasting unplanted space.

11) Harvest at optimal times

Corn should be harvested during dry weather when its stalk is brown, the husks are brittle, and kernels show signs of deep golden coloration. When these conditions are met, corn can be safely picked from the stalk and stored. 

However, if you leave it on the stalk for too long, your corn will begin to lose its sweetness as starches convert into sugars.

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