Perspectives on Corn Discovery Plots

Nov 29, 2023

Discovery Plot corn harvest 2023
From the Agronomy Sales Manager, Kevin Carlson:
The plot data offered this year represents four Discovery Plots that were in the tours, two plots not in the tours (including one with conventional corn), and two Answer Plots®. All of the plots experienced drought conditions early in the season, and crop response was highly dependent upon soil types.
The Answer Plots are replicated by location and are statistically rich. The Discovery Plots are not as statistically deep, but their data – especially when viewed year over year – is highly valuable. “When [Federated’s] data aligns with the Answer Plot data, you know you are seeing hybrids with good, predictable performance – and that’s what growers are looking for,” said Carlson.
“A good hybrid is a good hybrid no matter where you place it,” said Carlson, referring to a statement made by a state Extension agronomist years ago. The Answer Plots and the Discovery Plots cover different geographies, and by studying the data it’s possible to see what is consistent, what is reliable, and what is stable. “And that is the basis of good seed recommendations,” he said.
“Two outliers in the plot sets,” according to Carlson, are the conventional corn plot in Almelund, and the Dekalb/Bayer Seed Market Development Plot at the Gerth farm – which is “a nice one to look at for the Dekalb lineup,” he said.
The yields were very good in high productivity fields. It was excessively dry, but there were also excessive Growing Degree Units (GDUs) this summer – the GDUs were more than 200 above the normal GDU total. “Full season maturity hybrids obviously do the best when that happens,” said Carlson. One can only imagine what the yields would have been if there had been plentiful precipitation early in the season, not just later when the longer maturity hybrids were filling grain.
For Federated’s service area, however, the data proves that growers should stick to seed with the adaptive maturity for their area. If you’re in a 90-day planting zone, plant a 90-day hybrid.
For the third year in a row, Dekalb 43-75 performed in the top five. “It performed exceptionally well in both the Answer Plots and Discovery Plots.
NK 9231 also proved to be a very stable product this year with high yields on average.
Talk to your Federated Agronomist to discuss the replicated data that makes seed buying decisions easier. They are ready to help with recommendations.
From Ag Sales Rep Craig Loen (Osceola):
The Osceola Discovery Plot was looking pretty bleak in August, which is why there was no tour of the fields, only an informational meeting and lunch. However, as late rains arrived, the no-till ground in the Osceola plots proved themselves able to deliver some pretty good numbers.
“It’s impressive what the genetics are nowadays,” said Loen. “You can get 200-bushel corn with no rain!” The seed today is bred for genetics that can withstand drought.
The Discovery Plot at the Gustafson Farm saw Brevant 95J39Q come in at +70 bu./ac. over the plot average of 151.45 bu./ac. on a very dry plot. Dryness at harvest measured at 17.8% – “which shows that’s a really good corn seed,” said Loen.
In Osceola, NK 9231, which is a popular hybrid, yielded 209.8 bu./ac. with 16.5% for dryness, which was 60 bu./ac. over the plot average.
Renk 444 took third place in the plot with 171 bu./ac., still well above the plot average, and measured at 17.3% for dryness.
Loen said his own farm (in the Taylor Falls area) got as high as 215 bu./ac. He noted that the higher price per bag ($5 to $15 more per acre) for some of the new genetics pays off in a big hurry at harvest. When you do the math, there’s plenty of reason to step up to the genetics that perform well in tougher conditions.
So let your Federated Agronomist do the math for you and help with seed recommendations this fall. Remember that the highest performing genetics will be the most popular. Place seed orders early.
From Ag Sales Rep Sam Johnson (Albertville):
The growers in the Albertville area, where crop maturity is around 100 days, are “pretty happy with how the corn turned out,” said Johnson. Yield numbers (not in plots) ranged from the 180s to the 230s bu./ac. with some variation because the rains were “really spotty.” And of course, soil types impacted results.
The standout yields in the Albertville area came from Dekalb101-33, which is a SmartStax®, and Dekalb101-35, which is a VT Double Pro®. Both proved solid in spite of the lack of rain.
Johnson also noted that the fall’s unusually warm and not-too-rainy weather has lent itself to plentiful field work and fertilizer application. Everyone should be pretty well set for a good spring.

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