A Corn Illustrated exclusive plot covering nearly 18 acres went into the ground on May 5. It's a study of four plant populations, ranging from about 26,000 seeds per acre to nearly 36,000 seeds per acre, or a range of about 10,000 seeds per acre. The two seeding rates in between the extremes include 30,000 and 32,000 seeds per acre.
The plot was planted near Edinburgh, Ind. The land is similar to where non-irrigated plots were planted last year. It's loam soil underlain by gravel. This field is non-irrigated. That's why it was imperative to get it going and give it a shot to beat the potential for hot, dry weather by mid-summer. If it can pollinate before those conditions set in, there's a better chance for success.
The plot includes two hybrids supplied by Bird Hybrids LLC, Tiffin, Ohio. Both are triple-stacks with Herculex GMO traits. That includes Bt corn borer and rootworm protection, and resistance to Liberty herbicide. They are not resistant to glyphosate. Both are possible candidates for over-the-top applications of Liberty if needed. The farmer applied a soil-applied herbicide, then will spray if necessary. Last season, using glyphosate-resistant hybrids, he found it necessary to spray only about one-third of his acres postemergence. He also applied a soil-applied herbicide just before planting last year as well.
Both hybrids were grown in South America during the winter production season. Dave Nanda, president of Bird Hybrids, LLC, and a Corn Illustrated consultant, says that due to poor weather conditions, yields of the South American crop were lower than expected this year. That means many seed companies got less for their investment than they anticipated. Many companies today use Latin American or South American production to increase the hottest, newest hybrids so they can get them into customer's hands quicker than waiting and growing them only one summer at a time in the U.S.
So although the replicated, field-scale planting rate study is in the ground, three more studies must wait until soils dry up again. Rain at mid-week last week halted progress in planting that had begun to pick up steam in the central Corn Belt.
Still to come is a high-yield experiment, following both corn stalks and soybean stubble, on irrigated ground. Then plans call for a row width comparison and pre-applied nitrogen vs. sidedress N test. It will be conducted on typical silt loam soils with moderate to somewhat poor drainage. This land isn't irrigated, but is also not underlain by sand and gravel.
Stay tuned for progress on the weather, and when these plots can be planted.