Experiment on Your Farm to Increase Corn Silage and Alfalfa Yields

Tech Tuesday Header-01Weather aside, you are the author and architect of your yield.

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you,” said Frank Lloyd Wright, who’s widely considered the greatest architect of the 20th century. Born 1867 in Richland Center, Wisconsin, Wright used his background and education to develop a distinct style that became known as Prairie School architecture.

Wright’s home near Spring Green, Wisconsin, showcases his iconic style that harmonizes architecture, art, culture and the land. He was commissioned in 1915 by the Japanese emperor to design the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. The Historic Park Inn in Mason City, Iowa, is the last standing hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and ironically, it’s only a 45-minute drive from Latham Hi-Tech Seeds’ headquarters. (Make summer plans to tour both!)

While all this is interesting, you may wonder how it relates to your farm and higher yield. Keep in mind that Wright didn’t design and build like everyone else. He refined successful practices and created his own style to reach new architectural levels. You, too, can refine your already successful practices and incorporate scientific discoveries to take yield to another level.

Alfalfa

It’s critical that the new growth builds enough carbohydrates in its crown to safely overwinter. Generally speaking, the safest practice is to seed alfalfa 4-6 weeks before frost.

Emergence is the critical component to establishing a successful seeding. Latham’s AlfaShield® seed treatment surrounds the alfalfa seed, helping it absorb soil moisture quickly to begin the germination process. AlfaShield also contains key micronutrients, as well as a growth promoter called Optimize® Gold, that accelerate emergence. Experiment with foliar products like Foliar Boost.™ Growers have reported dry matter increases of 1 ⁄2 ton per acre, which adds nearly $100 of value per acre.

Corn Silage

Fungal diseases cause yield loss and can decrease feed quality. Consider applying fungicide. Research shows, when following label directions, fungicides like Headline AMP® have a 2- to 3-ton yield advantage. That’s roughly $80-$120 more value/acre! Fungicide helps improve corn health, as well as reduces mold and mycotoxin growth in corn silage.

Cover Crops

Water quality and soil health improve with cover crops, which extend biological activity of the ground until spring planting. Grazing cover crops is the easiest way to make the practice pay the first year, according to research by the Iowa Soybean Association. Depending on your cover crop mix, animal diets may need to be supplemented with hay or other high fiber feeds to keep animals healthy.

If you haven’t used cover crops in the past, start small. Select some fields that could benefit from a little tlc (tender loving care). Consider a cover crop post-corn silage or soybean harvest, or even try flying cover crops into standing corn.

Having confidence that you’ve done the absolute best possible job to set up and conduct your experiment is key. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you prepare with confidence this summer! Feel free to email me at coreyc@lathamseeds.com or call me at 1-877-GO LATHAM (1.877.465.2842).

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