Corn School: How trees impact your crop

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Trees tend to generate an emotional response from most cash croppers — some growers love them, others hate them.

The joy or angst typically stems from the impact the large, expansive perennial plants have on growing crops. On this episode of Corn School, RealAgriculture agronomist Peter Johnson looks back at the research of Dr. Charles Baldwin who passed away earlier this year. Baldwin, who worked at Ridgetown College of Agricultural Technology, conducted extensive research on the impact trees have on growing crops.

In the video, Johnson also shares aerial photos shot by Prince Edward Island-based agronomist Evan MacDonald. The photos illustrate the overall positive impact a treeline windbreak can have on a corn crop.

Johnson digs into Baldwin’s research to find that trees do cause yield loss based on their height. For example, 30-foot trees will reduce bushel per acre yield in the adjacent 30 feet of crop. However, the next nine tree heights (9 x 30 or 270 feet) will produce higher yields – enough to more than pay for the loss in the first 30 feet, he says.

Johnson reviews Baldwin’s recommendations on what type of trees create the most effective windbreaks. The researcher concluded that the best tree choice and configuration is a row of cedars with a row of pine trees behind it. Maintenance and practicality are also important.

Click here for more Corn School videos.

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Corn School (view all)Season 10 (2021) Episode 7
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