Turning corn trash into treasure

As harvest continues around Ohio is it no secret that many growers are seeing strong numbers on the yield monitors, with many of the readings pushing the 200-bushel mark.

That is, of course, great news for farmers around the state, but it does bring some things to think about for Bill Mullen, Director of Agronomic Services for Seed Consultants.

“One of my big concerns with these big yields is the trash that will be left on the field,” Mullen said. “This leaves a very good supply of nutrients, but we’ve got to break it down from the stalks.”

As many visitors noticed at Farm Science Review, there is new technology out there that may help with this issue and many options to choose from, including some non-conventional .

“In the past, that debris has been plowed under and that is certainly a plus,” Mullen said. “These days we are running out of time in the fall so we need to have options where we can address this issue in less time. One of those options is putting on a mixture of a little water, a little sugar and some sort of nitrogen product because the soil bacteria use sugar and carbohydrates to digest residue.”

Mullen admits this process will take a little time, but the nutrients will be recycled later on and he has a sense of urgency when talking to his growers about the issue of remnants left behind after harvest.

“The time is now because many of us can remember what happened the last two springs with the heavy rains,” Mullen said. “All of your trash ends up in the ditch, plugging outlets so much that a call is placed to the state and county to get the plows and clean them out. We have to start taking this on our own to try to be better soil stewards and help improve our soil tilth.”

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  1. If anyone wants to see some more on the importance of the microbe and the difference they have on quality and yield, give me a call at 740 291 9576 or send me a email at dmiller@advancingecoag.com.


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