Analysis of Mycogold seed treatment on corn

Many seed treatments are marketed with a promise to boost yields. Did Mycogold show a return?

The purpose of this study was to determine if the seed treatment “Mycogold” had an effect on yield in corn. Mycogold is marketed as a biological inoculant featuring mycorrhizal fungi. Mycorrhizae are fungi that form a symbiotic or mutually beneficial relationship with plant roots. The mycorrhizae increase plant root surface area, acting as an extension of the plant root, helping the root absorb water and nutrients. In return, the mycorrhizae take in carbon compounds exuded from the roots as a food source.

This study was conducted as part of Michigan State University’s Extension’s Thumb Ag Research and Education program. Plots were established at four sites in Michigan: near Kingston, Unionville, Croswell and Capac. The corn was established in 90-foot long by 15-foot wide plots on 30-inch spacings. Six rows were established in each plot, and the center four rows were harvested for data.

Plots were established in a randomized complete block design with four replications. The hybrid used in this study was Rupp XR D94-26, and the seed was planted at a rate of 32,000 seeds per acre.

Mycogold is a dry powder inoculant to be mixed with the seed just prior to planting. The labeled application rate is 4 ounces of product per 50 pounds of seed. In this study, 1/8 teaspoon of Mycogold was thoroughly mixed with seed corn in a 6-inch by 9-inch manila envelope within about three hours of planting. Untreated check seed received no Mycogold, but was otherwise treated exactly the same. The manila envelope contained approximately 1,100 seeds, enough for one 15’-foot by 90-foot plot.

Corn yield and moisture were recorded for each plot. Those values are reported in the table below.

Yield and moisture values from Mycogold seed treatment study
Mycogold TrialKingston moisture (%)Yield bu/ACapac moisture (%)Yield bu/ACroswell moisture (%)Yield bu/AUnionville moisture (%)Yield bu/AAverage moisture (%)Yield bu/A
Mycogold 18.49 199.02 19.7 170.59 17.64 203.67 18.22 170.91 18.51 186.05
UntreatedCheck 18.43 193.17 19.58 173.51 17.86 209.38 18.37 164.44 18.56 185.13
CV (%) 0.43 1.93 0.63 2.61 0.86 2.8 0.19 7.03 4.11 10.63
LSD (0.90) 0.09 4.39 0.14 5.2 0.18 6.7 0.04 13.68 0.35 9.16

There was a significant increase in yield at the Kingston site and a significant decrease in moisture at the Unionville site. However, averaged across all four sites, there was no significant difference in moisture or yield at the 90 percent confidence interval.

Interestingly, the Unionville site received the least rain and the Kingston site received the most rain among the four sites in a dry 2016 year. Conclusions should not be made from this single year of data.

The Corn Marketing Program of Michigan provided funding to aid in the establishment of these plots.

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