June 9, 2015


Monsanto's seed brand and US university collaborate on maximising corn yields



Michigan State University (MSU) Extension and Monsanto's DEKALB / Asgrow in Mason, Michigan, US, have collaborated on a research project to maximise corn yields, MSU Extension reported.


Two modern semi flex-ear-type hybrids, DKC49-72RIB and DKC50-84RIB, were being tested last year 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/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 conducted under ideal weather conditions in April 2015. The early planting date together with adequate heat units have provided an excellent start.


Assuming normal weather conditions to prevail for the rest of the season, this year may offer the best opportunity to achieve the elusive 300 bushels/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 nitrogen rates in the future.


MSU Extension acknowledges that transitioning from the conventional 30-inch row to a narrow 20-inch row system would require some new equipment. It also recognise 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.


In MSU's view, achieving 300 bushels/acre on a consistent basis will be a significant milestone for corn producers in terms of profitability. Recent contest winners for corn yields in the area had exploited improving genetic traits and fine-tuned their production practices to achieve this goal.


The study was funded by the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan.

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