Dr. Ron Heiniger with North Carolina State University is an expert in corn. For many years, he has been researching how to increase corn yields and some of the research he has done in his test plots are showing promising results – 300+ bushels per acre results. To put this number in perspective, the average bushel per acre yield for his area is between 120-125. “Our goal is to try to explore yield levels. The idea is yield equals profit,” said Dr. Heiniger. These results were unveiled during his presentation as part of StollerUSA’s Ag Associates Conference.
In order to achieve higher yields, Dr. Heiniger said that first he and his team knew that they needed to address stress as well as find ways to get their plants more productive. As a result, he said, “We learned what some of the key factors are such as plant population, intercept more light, and doing something for stress.” He continued that early growth roots become very critical as well as finding ways to combat heat and other stresses.
I asked him why root growth was so important and he told me that a stronger, larger root mass helps the plant combat stress as well as absorb nutrients more effectively. However, there are limited ways to do this including early fertilization and some products like Bio-Forge to help hormone stimulation and to get more root tips growing as well as get longer roots. He stressed that better root growth and getting a better way to intercept water is crucial. Especially since his area can be hot and dry for most of the growing season.
His research has looked at many ways to improve root health including when applications are most successful. He said they’ve looked at applying the treatments to seed, in-furrow, as a two-by-two band and even at different stages of the plant life. Although he is not ready to endorse which way is best, he stressed that what they have unequivocally discovered is that the treatments need to be applied as early as possible, meaning within the first few weeks of planting. “That really changes the game right off the bat.”
I asked him what he would recommend to growers to help them improve yield and he said first, in-furrow applications and second, if that is not an option, a seed application. He concluded by saying that, “Growers have a great opportunity to use some new innovative products.”
To learn more about his research, listen to my full interview with Dr. Heiniger or click here.
Ag Associates Conference Flickr Album.
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