February 27, 2021

Secrets of Top Producers:

Top 10 High-Yield Management Strategies Revealed

In SciMax Solutions’ High Management Yield Contests, it’s not unusual for top producers to achieve 260-bushel to 280-bushelper-acre corn yields. In 2016, many of the entries were north of 250 bushels per acre.

What’s their secret?

“In the past several years we’ve studied these results and have put together a high-yield management program that’s working well,” said Dan Bjorklund, seed team leader at MaxYield Cooperative. “By working with this elite group of SciMax growers, we’ve identified proven strategies anyone can use to maximize bushels.”

These top 10 strategies include:

  1. Crop rotation. Almost all of the highest yields in the SciMax group came from first-year corn, which is corn following soybeans.
  2. Variable-rate planting. Nearly all of the SciMax growers used variable-rate planting, so they can match higher plant populations with higher productivity areas in the field.
  3. Early planting. “The growers who planted the earliest did the best,” Bjorklund said. “That means April for corn and as soon as possible after corn for soybeans.”
  4. Planting in proper conditions. While Mother Nature’s whims can make it tricky sometimes to plant when the seedbed is ready, it’s a worthy goal. “You run into a lot of challenges if you plant into a seedbed that’s too wet,” Bjorklund said. “When you plant into a seedbed that’s ready, the plants tend to develop the best root systems and produce the highest yields.”
  5. Variable-rate fertilizer. Nearly all of the SciMax growers with top yields used variable-rate fertilizer, including SciMax Nitrogen. “The goal of SciMax Nitrogen is to have nitrogen that’s readily available to the plant,” Bjorklund said. “You also apply the nutrients accordingly, since some areas need more than others.” For both corn and soybeans, the highest yields come on acres with proper fertility levels of phosphorus and potassium, Bjorklund added.
  6. Placing the right seed genetics on the right acres. Selecting the right genetics for the environment in which the seeds will grow is a key to high yield potential. “Use the knowledge of your MaxYield agronomy specialist and MaxYield seed specialist to place the right genetics on the right acre,” Bjorklund said.
  7. Proper fungicide use. Fungicides were used more than 90 percent of the time in the highest-yielding fields in the High Management Yield Contest.
  8. Fine-tuning fertilizer in the growing season. High-yield growers tend to follow some of the practices embraced by Randy Dowdy, the famous Georgia crop producer who has shattered national corn yield contests with 503 bushels per acre and 171 bushels per acre on soybeans. These include checking the crop weekly, using tissue sampling and making management adjustments as necessary, such as foliarapplying nutrients, Bjorklund said.
  9. Genetic diversity. Since there’s no way to accurately predict what weather conditions might influence the next growing season, genetic diversity is a key to success. “Not only is genetic selection critical, but we also need to get the most out of the genetics on each acre,” Bjorklund said. “That involves matching the right genetics to the right environment, rather than just going with the high-yielding genetics from the previous year.”
  10. Sticking with the plan. While these top 10 strategies reflect 2016 data, when excellent growing conditions were common throughout MaxYield’s trade territory, will they still work in high-stress years? Yes, based on observations from 2017. “It’s clear that these practices work in good years and not-so-good years,” Bjorklund said. “These high-yield management strategies are a workable system, not a guessing game. The key is to make these strategies part of your system and then stick to the plan.”

For more information on developing high-yield management strategies for your acres in 2018, contact your MaxYield agronomy specialist.



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