On-farm research to investigate new corn hybrids
The potential of modern corn hybrids to reach 300 bu/A will be put to test in 2013 in research plots comparing variable population densities, row spacings and nitrogen rates.
Genetic engineering and agronomic advancements have revolutionized corn production in the United States. The modern hybrids with transgenic insect protection and grown at higher population densities than ever before may have the best potential of reaching the 300 bu/A milestone in the not too distant future. Corn hybrids will soon have traits for improved drought tolerance and nitrogen efficiency. The prediction is that the United States would double its corn yield in the next 30 years.
In 2013, a field study will be initiated to investigate the agronomic response of the modern hybrids with two distinct ear types (fixed versus flexed), at three population densities (30,000; 36,000; and 42,000 plants per acre), at two-row spacings (20-inches and 30-inches), and at two nitrogen rates (120 and 240 lb/A). The treatments will be randomized and replicated four times. The overall objective is to find how these variables will interact and produce the best treatment combinations that will achieve the highest harvestable ears per acre and grain yield.
Harvestable ears per acre is a critical yield component in corn. The test will also demonstrate if the so called “flex” ear hybrid will indeed adjust its ear size, based on the plant population and nitrogen rate, compared to “fixed” ear type. Testing how these hybrids perform under diverse growing conditions will also provide valuable data to help growers who wish to apply variable rate technology to planting populations and nitrogen rates in the future. The increased plant residue at higher populations will also receive attention as a management issue.
Michigan State University Extension will partner with Steve Gower, agronomist for the DEKALB/Asgrow Brands of the Monsanto Company, to conduct this study at the Mason Technology Center in Ingham County. Following grain harvest, the economic aspects of growing corn at various input levels will be evaluated.
This project will be partially funded by Project GREEEN.