This year produced a lot of environmental stress for corn crops throughout the United States. The impact of that stress can be compounded on corn-on-corn acres. Those fields typically fare worse than corn-on-soybean fields under stressful conditions, meaning farmers may want to implement additional management strategies to minimize yield impacts. While corn stress due to drought is nothing new to growers, the yield difference between corn-on-corn and corn-on-soybean can further magnify the issue.
Pioneer’s agronomic stress emergence ratings can help growers choose hybrids suitable for their specific early-season conditions.
“We know that corn-on-corn doesn’t handle stress as well,” said Jeff Lafrenz, Pioneer Field Agronomist. “In the latter half of the growing season, when it got really dry, we saw a bigger spread in yield between corn-on-soybean and corn-on-corn fields.”
Early season corn stress, nitrogen loss, and prolonged dryness and drought were just some of the problems that afflicted this season’s corn crop. While correlated with higher yields, early planting and reduced tillage can also increase the risk for early-season corn stress. Low early-season temperatures are more common in the north. However, southern and western corn-growing regions aren’t immune, and a cold snap or rain can cause significant stress.
Due to the extra challenges that may come with growing a corn-on-corn rotation, it’s important to select hybrids with strong stress emergence scores, which can reduce genetic vulnerability to stress. Additionally, utilizing seed treatments can provide critical protection to vulnerable seeds in stressful environments.
During dry years, corn-on-corn fields tend to experience an even greater difference in plant health when compared to corn-on-soybean or wet corn-on-corn fields.