With a well-thought-out management plan, continuous corn can pay dividends
Tom Fink is no stranger to growing corn on corn. His father raised continuous corn on the family’s northwest Illinois farm for decades. The 1988 drought pushed Fink to a corn-soybean rotation, and he returned to continuous corn after 2006 to capture more profit potential.
“We grow really good corn in Carroll County,” says Fink, who farms near Chadwick, Illinois. His average yields over the past two years have ranged from 215 to 245 bushels per acre. “It comes down to management,” he says.
Continuous corn can be unforgiving. “About 15 years ago, nearly two-thirds of the growers around here had at least 75 percent of their acres in continuous corn,” says Blake Miller, a Syngenta agronomic service representative (ASR) in Illinois. “Many got burned by agronomic failures after three or four years.”
Making continuous corn work means knowing what you’re up against. “We have to go into continuous corn with a higher management level than we would with other cropping systems,” says Mark Licht, Ph.D., an assistant professor and cropping systems specialist with Iowa State University Extension.
You can read through this list of 10 expert tips for raising continuous corn:
This article was compiled and written by Darcy Maulsby for Syngenta’s Thrive magazine.