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Reduce Potential for Volunteer Corn in 2021 with Tillage this Fall

October 23, 2020
This agronomic image shows volunteer corn

Volunteer corn in soybean field

2020 has seen some significant weather challenges in certain parts of the country. High winds sweeping across parts of the Midwest led to increased incidence of downed corn. This is likely to have a substantial impact on the amount of volunteer corn in next year’s crops. University studies show that when left untreated, volunteer corn infestations can cause up to 40% yield reduction in soybeans. To ensure maximum yield potential in 2021, volunteer corn management will be essential.

Controlling next year’s volunteer corn can begin with post-harvest management this fall. Fall tillage can help work up the soil, create better seed to soil contact and promote germination in the downed corn. This will expose the corn seedlings to winter temperatures, and the frost will eliminate a certain portion of the emerged plants helping to reduce the amount of volunteer corn likely to germinate next year and create challenges in soybean fields.

Volunteer corn control should also be a consideration when planning for next year’s herbicide programs. It can be difficult to achieve complete control in 1 pass with an herbicide tank mix. Considering the likelihood of large populations of volunteer corn next spring, we recommend a standalone application of Fusilade® DX herbicide in soybean fields to avoid any potential tank-mix antagonism and protect yield potential.

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