Mitigate the Downside Risks of Corn Following Corn

Mitigate the Downside Risks of Corn Following Corn

R.L. (Bob) Nielsen, Agronomy (rnielsen@purdue.edu); Bill Johnson, Botany & Plant Pathology (wgj@purdue.edu); Christian Krupke, Entomology (ckrupke@purdue.edu); and Greg Shaner, Botany & Plant Pathology (shanerg@purdue.edu), Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

The advent of soybean rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi) across the southern U.S. late in 2004 and its discovery in Indiana late in 2006 (Ag Answers, 2006) “adds fuel to the fire” for some Indiana growers who already perceive an economic advantage for switching intended soybean acres to second-year corn acres (Hurt, 2006; Schnitkey, 2006; Schnitkey and Lattz, 2005). The current corn-based ethanol euphoria promises to maintain the current favorable corn to soy grain price ratio for the near future (Hurt, 2006).

From an agronomic perspective, a continuous corn cropping system is fraught with a multitude of negative yield-influencing factors (Butzen, 2006; Lauer et al., 1997; Nafziger, 2004; Vyn, 2004). A recent review of crop rotation research literature (Erickson and Lowenberg-DeBoer, 2005) indicated an average yield loss of 9% for continuous corn, with yield losses ranging from 2 to 23%. Of 26 studies reviewed, only two cited yield advantages to continuous corn.

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