Plant hybrid corn in June for waterfowl season

Planting hybrid corn in June is a great recipe for success once waterfowl season rolls around. (Picture by Jeff Burleson)

Hunters spend countless hours in the woods and on the water after their prized prey. From the furry, hooved versions to the loud-mouthed feathered varieties, the Carolinas are rich with quality wildlife species from the mountains to the sea.

Even though many hunters spend many hours with a shotgun or rifle after these creatures during their respective hunting seasons, pre-season preparation is where it’s at! And duck hunters with a new impoundment or a failed spring planting still have plenty of time to plant yellow gold for the fall hunting season.

Some duck hunters will plant millet, chufa, milo, and even rice in duck impoundments. Others will keep the pond flooded and plant aquatic vegetation like banana water lily and smartweed. But it’s tough to beat yellow gold. Corn is sweet tasting and provides a high source of energy for local and migratory waterfowl. It is arguably the best attractant for duck impoundments in the Carolinas.

But with the spring planting season over and gone, the varieties available to plant for ducks is dwindling. Landowners will need to plant something now that can mature AND dry out in 130 days or less to take advantage of the early duck season.

Doug Newton is a wildlife/cover crop consultant for Scout Seed Company and based right along the NC/SC line. According to Newton, a late season corn planting is still possible with the right cultivar, but time is running out to get a crop established and to bringing in a flyway of ducks this winter.

“We have a full line of agriculture seeds, including cover crop seed and wildlife varieties for food plots and duck impoundments,” Newton said. (843-992-3593) “We have several solid corn hybrids that are suitable for late-planted duck impoundments. Ag Armur 8608 has an 86-day maturity and 9108 has a 91-day maturity. These are both roundup ready and have the BT gene to prevent corn ear worms.”

Choosing the right hybrid is crucial for today’s farmers. So consulting with an experienced agriculture company is crucial to making the best of limited time and resources. Newton has nearly 50 years of farming experience, and he knows and understands why it’s important to choose the right seed hybrid for the job.

Cultivars are developed for specific conditions all the time. Disease resistance and herbaceous competition are always an issue for farmers. Ear mold, southern rust, common rust, grey leaf spot, southern leaf blight, and Goss’ wilt are some of the diseases corn farmers must deal with on an annual basis. Ag Armur and others spend countless hours and resources to engineer their seeds to conform to environmental pressures to produce high yields with the least expenses along the way.

(Picture by Jeff Burleson)

In addition to the short maturation and disease resistance, these two hybrids Newton recommended are relatively short in stature, making them solid choices for duck impoundments.

“These two hybrids are relatively short in height and normally don’t grow much over waist high,” Newton said.

Short stature corn is preferred for two reasons. For one, the ears are more accessible if still on the stalk when matured in shallower impoundments. Sometimes the ears don’t always collapse to the water’s surface when flooded and the short height puts those ears in reach for ducks. Also, shorter corn in deeper impoundments will place the corn ears right at the water surface and the stalks are more likely to fall over. Less cover is better in impoundments. Impoundments with excessive cover from corn or other vegetation will encourage roosting. Less cover will discourage roosting and make ponds more apt to be used during the day versus at night.

Corn in impoundments is most preferred by waterfowl, and even though it is June, it’s not too late to plant a short maturing hybrid.

For more information about corn hybrids and other cover crops/wildlife seed hybrids, contact Doug Newton at Scout Seed Company at (843-992-3593) or at www.scoutseedco.com.

Get shorty:

Short stature corn is perfect for duck impoundments because once the areas are flooded, ducks can easily reach the ears of corn. It also creates very little cover, so ducks are not encouraged to roost, but are instead encouraged to visit as part of their daily routine.

About Jeff Burleson 1310 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.

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