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Discussion Starter #1
we are trying to make our foodplots look like 1960 corn fields with a ground level layer of foxtail. I think these fileds were cultivated and not sprayed so the corn would get higher than the foxtail before the foxtail would take over. We tried spraying our corn with broadleaf herbicide but the corn and foxtail were competing too much. Any ideas? We may end up having to cultivate these fields to make it work.
 

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I remember as a kid that farmers cultivated corn as not much spraying was done way back when, if any. I'm guessing the corn was knee high or so when they did it. Might be your only way of doing it?
 

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What you are talking about has been dubbed dirty corn or grassy corn in the waterfowl community. The key is going to be to suppress weed growth until the corn is knee high. It is also recommended to use row spacing no smaller than 36 inches to allow light to penetrate when the corn gets taller.

You want to suppress the weeds when they are between 2 and 4 inches tall. If you use Round-up Ready corn use the lowest rate recommended. Also don't use any additional herbicides that have a residual effect. You may need to use two applications between seeding and corn reaching knee high, but typically only one is needed.

If not using Round-up Ready corn, you need to cultivate the corn before the weeds overtake the corn and you can make out the rows. Typical cultivation is when corn is around 4 inches or taller. You are probably going to need to cultivate at least twice, to adequately suppress the weeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info. We'll try it next year.
 

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Lynn,
Timing of the planting can make a big difference also. We do this practice on our properties because it provides great cover within the corn rows and really promotes carryover of the birds. We spray early with round-up to kill the vegetation and then plant when the vegetation starts to die. We prefer to plant and have everything in by the middle of May. We plant and fertilize directly in the row with the planter. We plant on 36" rows and then we do not respray after planting. It is really all about timing and if it is off a little, the competition will typically stunt the corn. It is so much about timing, that we went from renting a planter to owning one. We leave all of our crop stand through the winter and do not harvest any of it. I have attached a few hunting pictures to show what we end up with, but I suspect this is what you are wanting.

The corn is a little stunted in this area mainly due to getting it in around the first of June. The corn is producing some ears, but is not ideal.


This is on an outside row of a field that was planted very late and the outside row is sparce. We sprayed late and the dry summer kept this field from coming great, but the corn did reach maturity and the ground cover is average


This field was planted around the 10th of May. This is what we try to get in each field if possible. You can see from the dogs, the ground cover between rows is extremely thick and the corn is producing and mature. This picture is in the middle of the field and we have left an extra large gap between planter passes.
 

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But if you make it down in early December, you will still find great ground cover in the corn regardless of weather.
 

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In row, band fertilization is the key. That gets the corn up and growing strong before summer annuals come on (remember foxtail does not even germinate until late Jume/early July). The trick is to get your corn up fast.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks guys for the input. This farming thing is more difficult than it looks. Our fields look like the first of pointer's pictures but with less growth of the corn. Few ears and little ones where there is some. We do use a John Deer planter and fertilize with the planting. I think we went too low on the setting this year. We plan to double it next year and will do a post emergant application of round-up if it warrents it before the corn gets too tall. Hopefully we'll have some good pics for next year.
 

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Lynn, if you are talking about a food plot and not corn for harvest, why would it matter if the corn ears are smaller due to competition? With that foxtail you have a great food source along with the corn. Quite frankly, I would prefer the foxtail over the corn anyway. Some of my best pheasant hunting in the 60s was in large foxtail fields that were left fallow and the birds digestive tracts always had the seeds in them. Let it grow.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
John,

The foxtail is good stuff until the first good snow. It flatens out under heavy snow. The corn would help hold it up and provide food above snow. There are not many ears and much of the corn never got big enough to get ears. We just need a little less foxtail and little more corn.
 

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Would it make sense to also plant some sorghum around the corn? Best of all worlds, foxtail, corn and sorghum.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Dutch,

We did that on about half the fields. We put corn on one side of the planter and sorghum on the other. I'm not sure if the problem was too much weed competition or too little fertilizer. This farming thing is not easy.
 
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