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2013 Season Results in Historical High Corn Yield for Craven County

2013 Season Results in Historical High Corn Yield for Craven County

The twenty-year corn production average for Craven County has been between 80-90 bushels of corn per acre. With advances in technology and breeding, this average (excluding the drought of 2008) has recently increased to 115-125 bushel per acres. However, in 2013, ideal conditions resulted in historically high corn yields estimated to average between 155-165 bushels per acre. Furthermore, growers report isolated farm yield above 200 bushel per acres. In fact, this year’s unofficial highest corn yield entry into the NC Corn Yield Contest from Craven County is 237 bushel per acre.

Typically, drought stress during critical stages of corn development and excessively high temperatures limit corn yield. However, in 2013, rainfall was abundant to excessive throughout the growing season. Many producers reported weekly rainfall between 0.5-2 inches. Furthermore, the month of June was mild. Typical temperatures above 95 degree Fahrenheit simply did not exist. Thus, on well-drained soils, historical corn yields were possible.

Not all soils produce crops equally. Poorly drained soils typically hold soil water for plant use during periods of drought or excessive heat thus benefiting yield. However, mild temperatures, excessive rainfall and continuous cloudy conditions resulted in excessive soil moisture for these soils. Excessive soil moisture limits soil oxygen and leads to loss of nitrogen from dentrification. Too, excessive soil moisture often results in higher disease incidence. Thus corn yield was greatly reduced on poorly drained soils. Producing greater yield were soils with moderate soil drainage.

Not all soils within Craven County are suited for corn production. Extremely sandy, well-drained soils do not hold enough water for high corn yield. Too, should intense rainfall occur, these soils simply leach nutrients creating nutrient deficiencies that limit yield. Recent plant breeding has shown promise of new varieties more tolerant of drought and heat stress. Promises of 80-120 bushel per acre or more may soon be possible even on sandier soils. Until then, understanding suitable soil water holding capacity and managing critical stages of corn development to match historical rainfall events are two of the most important management decisions for corn production within Craven County.

For additional information on successful corn production within Craven County, visit Keys to Successful Corn Production

For a general corn production guidelines visit The North Carolina Corn Production Guide