Corn is a popular and cost-effective crop, but it requires attention and compliance with technology. Main mistakes when growing corn. In the pursuit of profit, farmers often choose more profitable schemes of protection and cultivation of the soil, making irreparable mistakes that cost the lion’s share of the crop. Market experts told about the subtleties of corn cultivation and the secrets of its profitability.
Growing corn, like any crop — is a hard job of taking into account all factors and selecting possible technological solutions, says Eduard Pavlovsky, Manager for the development of the corn and sorghum market at Euralis Semans Rus. “This is the only way to get the expected result,” the specialist is sure. — We can not say that one manufacturer works poorly, and the other — well. For someone, 30 centners per hectare is a great result for this growing zone, and for another, 100 centners per hectare is the lowest threshold of the expected result. Everyone is right in their own way and everyone has their own vision.”
The profitability of growing corn is primarily determined by the size and quality of the crop, which, in turn, is almost 100% determined by the genomes of the hybrids sown, says Boris Voronichev, an expert in the agronomic support service of the company Corteva Agriscience. Therefore, agricultural producers are recommended to purchase seeds for sowing hybrids with the most pronounced effect of heterosis and have passed a comprehensive test for adaptability to local soil and climate conditions. However, the potential of high-yielding hybrids can be fully realized if the technology is followed. But even though modern breeding has succeeded in breeding hybrids, the characteristics of which can partially offset the mistakes of farmers and gaps in technology, it is not necessary to rely on this, believes Voronichev. Main mistakes when growing corn.
If farmers grow corn for grain, then in a simplified form, the profitability depends on the ratio of profit and production costs, explains Pavel Ishchenko, portfolio Manager for corn seeds at Syngenta. Therefore, if the farm is only planning to deal with corn, first of all, it is necessary to analyze its capabilities: the availability of tillage, sowing and harvesting equipment, soil climatic conditions, the ability to apply the necessary plant protection products and fertilizers, as well as the potential yield of corn hybrids and the market for finished products. If, after such an analysis, there is an understanding that the production of corn will be profitable, welcome to the”corn club”. Main mistakes when growing corn.
According to Ishchenko, much also depends on what exactly the farmer understands by the term “grain quality”. If the starch content of some important conditions of cultivation, type of grain, especially the hybrid, says the expert, if the contamination by mycotoxins, then again: growing conditions, infestation by pests and diseases, as well as conditions of treatment and storage of commercial grain. And if the suitability for certain purposes (for example, the production of cereals or lysine), then the features of the hybrid and the type of grain. In any case, the correct selection of the hybrid, agricultural equipment, the amount of fertilizers, planning of harvesting and post-harvest activities, such as drying, will help to ensure a higher quality of corn grain, the expert emphasizes.
Profitability directly depends on the resulting crop, and to get a high yield, you need investment, adds colleague Alexey Galay, product development Manager of the company “KVS RUS”. “The use of mineral fertilizers and high-quality pesticides is mandatory, as well as compliance with the terms of herbicide application. Otherwise, the corn plant gets stressed and will not be able to realize its potential. And, of course, you need high-quality seed material, without which even the perfect implementation of other agrotechnical requirements loses its relevance. True they say: “what you sow, you will reap.”
The main mistake of farmers, according to the head of the far Eastern representative office of the company “Shchelkovo Agrohim” Marina Chistova-a reassessment of their knowledge and capabilities. “We need a fundamental approach to knowledge about the biology, morphology of plants, cultivation technology, not even in the region, but in a specific area, the specialist emphasizes. Main mistakes when growing corn. “For example, there are seven climatic zones in the Primorsky territory — everywhere there are their own soils, weeds, precipitation, the sum of positive temperatures, etc. All these factors are important to consider when growing corn, ” Chistova is sure.
It is very difficult to talk about the mistakes of growing such a whimsical crop as corn within the framework of a complex technology, Pavlovsky believes. It is also necessary to take into account market volatility, budget opportunities, and restrictions related to weather conditions. After all, everyone adapts their capabilities to the realities of production, while passing through a large flow of information and sometimes understanding conflicting recommendations. “I am sure that everyone has faced mistakes, it is not fatal. The main thing is that these mistakes become stages of learning, and the farming system adapts, ” the expert says. According to him, it often happens that if farmers want to save money, they do not take into account the risks of using certain herbicides or buy unadapted hybrids, because they are cheaper. This leads to crop losses – main mistakes when growing corn.
One of the first factors limiting the corn crop is drought. If it falls on important stages of crop vegetation, you can lose up to 50% of the crop in just a few days, says Boris Voronichev, an expert of the agronomic support service of the company “Corteva Agriscience”. Most of the territories where corn is cultivated in our country are regions of unstable water supply, he says. Therefore, of course, the real breakthrough in the industry is the appearance of drought-resistant corn hybrids. But often the choice of drought-resistant hybrids is a compromise between the risk of crop loss in the event of a drought and the ability to get the maximum grain yield in a favorable year, because the genetic trait responsible for drought resistance has a negative correlation with productivity. Main mistakes when growing corn.
In addition, in opposition to the damaging effects of drought cannot be discounted and agronomic techniques, such as measures for retention in regions with low snow cover, the transition to no-till technology and reduce equipment passes across the field in the spring, start sowing in optimum early to give corn longer to grow in the most favourable conditions. And, of course, the quality of grain is influenced by the genotype of the hybrid, the mode of mineral nutrition, weather conditions that develop during the growing season, as well as the phytosanitary well-being of crops.”
In addition, continues Pavlovsky, the high cost of a balanced nutrition system leads to the choice of cheaper strategies for the use of fertilizers, which, of course, have serious shortcomings, for example, a bias in the use of nitrogen fertilizers only when other elements of nutrition are scarce. “But in General, today there are more and more professional agricultural producers who take into account not only their growing practices, but also pay attention to the experience of their neighbors. Main mistakes when growing corn. This is shown by statistics on the average crop yield, which, according to the Federal state statistics service, in Russia is 50-55 quintals per hectare. This means that new technologies, genetics with a higher potential yield, fertilizer systems and new and modern agricultural machines are being introduced in Russia.”
The most common mistake is the wrong choice of hybrid, Boris Voronichev is sure. “That is why our team of agronomists works with farmers on the principle: each field has its own hybrid,” the expert shares. According to him, a large selection of hybrids for technologies with any level of intensity allows farmers to achieve commercial success in the implementation of technologies used in each case. Therefore, when choosing a hybrid, first of all, you need to pay attention not to the potential of its yield, but to those characteristics that will allow it to best adapt to the conditions on the farm.
There are a lot of subtleties, says Voronichev. In addition to the standard (such as the rate of moisture loss, the level of cultivation technology), it is worth considering other points. For example, if the farm practices early sowing, it is necessary to choose hybrids that allow sowing in the soil at a temperature of +7°C. If there is not enough seeding equipment, because of which the seeding may be delayed, it is worth choosing some hybrids suitable for later sowing. And it is necessary to take into account the precursor crops: after cereals or corn, you need a hybrid with increased resistance to common diseases, after sugar beets and vegetables, you may need a hybrid with increased resistance to herbicide stress and heavy soils. And after peas or soybeans, which are the most preferred precursors, you can choose a hybrid with a high yield potential.
Based on monitoring
Before any use of any protective equipment or growth-stimulating drugs, it is necessary to monitor the fields, advises Marina Chistova, head of the far Eastern representative office of Shchelkovo Agrohim. On the basis of surveys, it is possible to apply several schemes for the use of hssr:
1) soil herbicide + introduction of herbicides in the phase of 2-5 maize leaves + care treatments during vegetation (leaf nutrition, insecticidal, fungicidal, row-to-row treatment with fertilizing with mineral fertilizers);
2) without soil herbicide, but with increased herbicide load during the growing season + care treatments. Any savings on the hybrid, fertilizers, plant protection chemicals, farming practices, feeding will inevitably lead to the loss of the crop. Main mistakes when growing corn.
To minimize possible risks and find your ideal portfolio of hybrids, it is recommended to choose a hybrid for each specific site, whether it is an entire field or even part of it. “After all, the role can play not only the mineral composition of the soil, but even the direction of the slope. And if the hybrid is sown for the first time, we recommend using the agricultural support of the seed producer, even if the farm has a huge experience of corn cultivation,” — advises Voronichev.
The most common mistakes of technology are always the most textbook. For example, too early or too late sowing results in crop loss. “Early sowing in unheated soil leads to uneven seedlings and poor seed germination,”says Alexey Galay, product development Manager at KVS RUS. — In the future, late-growing plants will be oppressed by more powerful early shoots. On the other hand, too late corn crops, especially in the southern regions, suffer from atmospheric and soil droughts. Therefore, maize should be sown when the soil temperature at the depth of the seed embedding warms up to +10°C”.
Another mistake is growing corn in the same field for several years. “The longer this crop is cultivated in one place, the higher the infectious background of dusty and bubbly smut, stem and root rot, increases the number of cotton scoops and corn moths. Therefore, the agronomist must monitor the phytosanitary condition of each field and, if the economic threshold of pathogen harmfulness is exceeded, refuse to plant corn on the infected area, ” galay recommends.
Due to the high requirements for the quality of raw materials, sugar corn needs special control. “One of the main pests — the cotton scoop — can cause significant damage to the cobs, after which they will not meet the requirements of buyers of sugar corn,” explains Dmitry Belov, head of product development at August.”
According to him, to control the cotton scoop, it is necessary to have high-clearance sprayers, as well as use specialized insecticides from the class of diamides, in particular: pyridylpyrazoles, oxadiazines, avermectins. Drugs based on these groups of DM have a high cost, which can not but affect the cost of the product. However, profitability can remain very high. Of course, there are solutions that are less expensive, the expert continues — such as pyrethroids, but their effectiveness is lower compared to the first group. As for PHOS-organic insecticides (PHOS), they are for the most part either already banned for use on corn, or will soon be banned. When paired with a cotton scoop, the corn stalk moth harms, they have slightly different development cycles, but with a good forecast, you can combine and anticipate damage by this group of pests, Belov says. Main mistakes when growing corn.
In General, there are not so many protective measures on corn, for example, in contrast to sugar beets, potatoes or rapeseed, so there is not much to save on, the expert believes. Since a large share of corn seeds on the market is sold by seed companies that have their own seed plants abroad and in Russia, the seeds are mostly etched with a fungicide, which protects the crop from germination diseases and reduces the risk of blistering (infection on the seeds) and dusty smut. However, the plants do not always make the etching insecticide protectant, and this is very important for farms where wireworms and gnawing scoops are profiling pests. Therefore, farmers have to do it themselves. For these purposes, it is better to choose D. V. from the class of finylpyrazoles or pyrethroids with high vapor pressure, Belov advises. He also draws attention to the fact that leaf fungicides are now gradually being introduced into the protection system. “Their share in protecting corn is still small,” the expert says. — However, diseases such as Fusarium grain (cob), helminthosporiosis and some types of smut can attract the attention of agronomists for protection.”
No less important is the mechanical destruction of weeds, adds Pavel Ishchenko. There are a great many tools on the market that allow you to choose the optimal unit according to the strategy of soil cultivation. As for herbicides, it is very important to observe the regulations for the use of drugs, since herbicides are one of the main stress factors affecting maize plants in the early stages of vegetation, when the potential of the future crop is laid. Main mistakes when growing corn.
At the same time, do not forget about insecticides and fungicides. In recent years, the increase in the number of pests and the damage caused by them are becoming more noticeable, says Ishchenko. Therefore, professional corn producers, especially export-oriented ones, can no longer do without the use of insecticides. Fungicides are increasingly included in the protection scheme for agricultural enterprises that use irrigation or are located in areas with sufficient or increased water availability, as well as having a high share of corn in the crop rotation. Main mistakes when growing corn.
“In any case, the use of unreasonably low dosages of plant protection products, the exclusion of measures from agricultural equipment that are necessary in specific soil and climate conditions can lead to disastrous results. As you know, a miser pays twice, ” Ishchenko concludes.
An important stage is the protection of corn from weeds, which requires a separate description — how diverse and flexible it is depending on the conditions, weeds, economy and tasks, says Dmitry Belov, head of product development at the company “August”. However, there are herbicides that have a wide basic spectrum of action. They control a wide range of weeds, do not require the preparation of tank mixes, and at a cost belong to the premium segment. However, for a number of weeds, especially perennial root-sprouting and root-bearing, these drugs are insufficiently effective and require such partners as 2,4-D, dicamba, picloram, clopiralid, fluroxipir. There is an opinion that the data of D. V. (synthetic analogs of auxins) negatively affect the yield of corn. However, for such weeds as wormwood, field bindweed, spurge, field bodyak, fence povoy and some others, only these d.V. can reduce harmfulness. You just need to follow the technology: the application phase — 3-5 leaves of the crop, optimal weather conditions, the type of hybrid. And, of course, take into account the goals of growing corn.” Main mistakes when growing corn.