Planting corn using no till practices is increasing in popularity as farmers see that top yields in corn can happen without tilling the soil. Here we’ve included some tips and techniques to help you get your no till corn crop off to a strong start.
Make Sure Corn Is Planted At The Proper Depth
No till corn must be planted at the correct depth in order to achieve the optimal crop yields. Corn seeds should never be shallower than two inches, and in sandy no till soils or later planting dates, three inches often yields even better.
Make sure that all the kernels are at the same depth. Corn is sensitive to timing of emergence—every plant needs to emerge at the same time as its neighbor. Even 24 hours later can hurt the yield of that plant. To help get all the seeds to the same depth, you want the furrow cut to a consistent width—wide enough to get a corn kernel to the bottom—and our Valion seed tube guards are a great way to prevent blade flex and prevent the furrow from becoming pinched, useless slits at the bottom. Because blade flex varies every foot or two as the opener goes along, your effective depth will be all over the map. Preventing excessive blade flex is necessary to get all the kernels to the same depth.
Corn Should Be Embedded Into The Bottom Of The Furrow
Not only do the kernels all need to be at the same depth in no till seeding, but they also need to be equally firmed into the soil—our Mojo Wire for Keetons helps insure that this occurs. By using Keetons with Mojo wire stiffeners, some no till clients had stands so good, they were able to pare back corn seed drop significantly. Stand establishment became consistent at 90-95%. This is due to the seeds being embedded into the bottom of the furrow. Equal firming means that they will all germinate at the same rate, which is part-and-parcel of uniform timing of emergence in no till farming.
Crumble The Sidewall
Getting both sidewalls broken up is essential! You do not want any root restrictions, especially not for corn that grows so rapidly and is on a ‘fixed’ schedule to reach maturity. Every day the crown roots’ growth is stifled, there is yield being lost. If the sidewalls are not crumbled adequately, it severely restricts the roots in no till corn. Crown roots are the main root system and they originate above the seed (the early ‘seminal’ root system below the seed usually dies off). Crown roots must grow through the sidewall. If they can’t, “rootless” or tomahawk roots are the result and your corn plants will be very weak. Our Thompson spoked closing wheels are an excellent product for shattering the sidewalls without packing the soil in no till farming conditions.
Loose soil over the seed is preferable to packing, since the loose soil allows faster germination as well as stronger emergence.
“I planted double-crop corn into wheat stubble in extreme wet conditions using Thompson wheels—I shouldn’t have been in the field, but the corn made an excellent stand!”
— Bill Stahl, Clarksburg, MO (Thompson wheels on 12-row Kinze planter)
For further information on Exapta parts and equipment for no till farming, please call us at (800) 417-8020, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. No till farming is also referred to as zero tillage farming.