High yield corn research bolstered by early season weather
High yield corn research project incorporates modern corn hybrids with non-limiting plant populations and nitrogen rates.
Michigan State University Extension and DEKALB/Asgrow brands of Monsanto Company in Mason, Michigan, have collaborated on a research project to maximize corn yields. Two modern semi flex-ear-type hybrids, DKC49-72RIB and DKC50-84RIB, are being tested in 2015 at two-row spacings of 20 and 30 inches, three seeding rates of 30,000, 36,000 and 42,000 seeds per acre and two nitrogen (N) rates of 120 and 240 pounds N per acre. The 20-inch row spacing was included to provide a more desirable geometric spacing for plants at high populations. The overall objective is to find how these two hybrids will interact with non-limiting plant populations and nitrogen to produce the highest number of harvestable kernels and grain yield per acre.
The replicated plots are located on a high productive soil at the Mason Technology Center in Ingham County. The trial was planted under ideal weather conditions April 27, 2015. The early planting date combined with adequate heat units have provided an excellent start. Assuming normal weather conditions to prevail the rest of the season, this year may offer the best opportunity to achieve the elusive 300 bushels per acre yield goal.
Testing how these hybrids perform under different input levels will provide valuable data to help growers who wish to apply variable rate technology to planting populations and N rates in the future. We acknowledge that transitioning from the conventional 30-inch row to a narrow 20-inch row system would require some new equipment. We also recognize the need for a surface residue management strategy so the excess corn residue on narrow row/high populations will not interfere with the next crop.
Achieving 300 bushels per acre on a consistent basis will be a significant milestone for corn producers in terms of profitability. Most recent corn yield contest winners in the area have exploited the continuously improving genetic traits and fine-tuned their production practices to achieve this goal.
This study was funded by the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan. Special thanks to Steve Gower, Monsanto agronomist, and his staff at the Mason Technology Center for their assistance.