Calibrating Corn Production in Potato Country

Cindy ZimmermanConservation, Corn, Fertilizer, Tillage

Idaho is synonymous with potatoes, but there is more corn in the ground there these days to support a growing dairy industry.

USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have found that some Pacific Northwest farmers can increase corn yields by using strip tillage and banding fertilizer instead of conventional tilling. Strip tillage and banding involves excavating a single row for planting about 6 to 12 inches wide and 6 to 8 inches deep with a knife-like shank that can also inject fertilizer directly below the seed.

The scientists found that using these practices increased corn grain yields on severely eroded soils st higher elevations by 12 percent the first year and 26 percent the second year. This translated into yield increases between 11 and 26 bushels per acre.

Read more from ARS here.

Photo courtesy of David Tarkalson, ARS.