Keep soils in balance for producing higher corn yields: Part II

David Hula says he’s not against grid sampling for trying to enhance corn yields, but that such sampling only provides a snapshot of your soils.

The Charles City, Va., grower says he prefers using a yield monitor to determine how much nutrient is being removed from the soil and tissue sampling to determine if corn plants are getting what they need.

Hula, whose 532-bushels-per-acre corn yield led the National Corn Growers Association National Corn Yield Contest in 2015, said “I’m more into the plant tissue samples telling me what we have access to, but we do want to manage our soils.”

He and his partners first began using a Varis rig, which measures the electrical conductivity of the soil, several years ago. Over time, they learned that the results from the Varis rig were similar to what they were seeing of the yield maps for the same fields.

“We used the Varis rig, and it worked out well for phosphorus and potash,” he told producers attending the Dulaney Seed/AgVenture Corn University in Greenville, Miss., earlier this month. “We were getting into variable rate application, and we noticed the pH was in balance. Then we said ‘let’s go to grid samples.

“When we took the map with EC zone recommendations for phosphorus and potash in our left hand and took the grid sample recommendations for P and K in our right hand and held them out, they looked very similar. When you did the same thing with your pH recommendations, we did not see the similarities. So we have gone to a grid sample one time and get our pH balanced, and that’s it.”

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