Corn Product Performance in Different Irrigation Environments and Planting Populations

Trial Overview

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  • Producers often have many different environments13;10;on their farm, including different irrigation environments. 
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  • To help place the best corn products in these13;10;unique environments, information is needed on how products perform under13;10;reduced irrigation at different planting densities. 
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Research Objective

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  • The objective of13;10;this study was to test corn products at different planting densities under full13;10;and limited irrigation in different locations in the Great Plains in order to13;10;aid producers in selecting corn products and planting populations that will fit13;10;the full and limited irrigation environments on their farm.
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13;10;Location 13;10;
13;10;Soil Type 13;10;
13;10;Previous Crop 13;10;
13;10;Tillage Type 13;10;
13;10;Planting Date 13;10;
13;10;Harvest Date 13;10;
13;10;Potential Yield 13;10;
13;10;Planting Rate 13;10;
Mingo, KS
Silt loam
Sunflowers
Strip-till
05/10/2016
10/10/2016
Bethune, CO
Silt loam
Soybean
Strip-till
05/11/2016
10/13/2016
Hugoton, KS
Silt loam
Sorghum
Strip-till
05/12/2016
10/12/2016
Bruning, NE
Silt loam
Soybean
No-till
05/13/2016
10/15/2016
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13;10; Site Notes:13;10;

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At each location, 22 corn products were planted13;10;with two replications under two irrigation treatments and four planting13;10;densities. Each site was13;10;irrigated with a variable rate irrigation system mounted on a pivot that13;10;allowed for control of the irrigation at two different levels: 100% full13;10;irrigation (100% FI) and 50% of full irrigation (50% FI).  For the Mingo, KS site: rainfall = 10.2 inches, ET = 28.0 inches, 50% FI = 7.0 inches, and 100% FI = 13.5 inches.For the Bethune, CO site: rainfall = 9.5 inches, ET = 23.4 inches, 50% FI = 3.5 inches, and 100% FI = 7.1 inches.For the Hugoton, KS site: rainfall = 10.5 inches, ET = 29.7 inches, 50% FI = 9.0 inches, and 100% FI = 18.0 inches.For the Bruning, NE site: rainfall = 12.2 inches, ET = 29.6 inches, 50% FI = 3.6 inches, and 100% FI = 7.2 inches.The four planting densities were: 24,000 seeds/acre13;10;(24K), 30,000 seeds/acre (30K), 36,000 seeds/acre (36K), and 42,000 seeds/acre13;10;(42K). The plot design was a split-split-plot with13;10;irrigation as the main group and corn product as the secondary group.
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Understanding the Results

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Table 1. Average Yields13;10;in Each Location and Irrigation Treatment
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Figure 3. Ear Size Was Reduced by13;10;a Lower Irrigation Rate and Increased Planting Population
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Figure 4. Yields by Planting Population13;10;for the Two Irrigation Treatments.  Corn13;10;products that were planted at all four locations were used for the analysis.
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Figure13;10;5. Performance of Each Corn Product in the Two Irrigation Environments
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Figure 6. Yields13;10;of Selected Corn Products by Irrigation Treatment and Planting Population
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Figure13;10;7. Return/acre based on a Seed Cost of $322/80K Units and a Corn Price of $3.20
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  • At each location,13;10;the 100% FI treatment yielded higher than the 50% FI treatment (Table 1).
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  • Increasing planting13;10;populations tended to increase yield in both irrigation environments; however, this13;10;response was stronger in the 100% FI treatment (Figure 4).
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  • The performance13;10;of each corn product in each environment was assessed against the other products13;10;in the study. This allowed a comparison of product performance in two irrigation13;10;environments in the same location (Figure 5).
         - For example, when comparing the 111 RM C product13;10;and the 111 RM D product, similar performance was observed in the 100% FI13;10;treatment, but the 111 RM D product performed better than the 111 RM C product13;10;in the water-stressed 50% FI treatment.
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  • A closer look at13;10;the data provides detailed information about how each planting population and13;10;irrigation treatment environment impacted corn product performance (Figure 6).
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What Does This Mean for Your Farm

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  • Corn products13;10;vary in their response to different irrigation environments. This data is13;10;useful in helping to decide what products to plant in different irrigation13;10;environments.
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  • The data also13;10;highlights how planting population should be varied based on your yield13;10;environment. When all corn products are averaged together, the highest yield13;10;was reached in both irrigation environments at a planting population of 42K13;10;seeds/acre.
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  • The highest yield13;10;is not always the goal. As figure 7 shows, consider seed price and corn sale13;10;price to determine an optimum seeding rate. The optimum seeding rates across the13;10;corn products used in this study were 36K seeds/acre in the 100% FI treatment13;10;and 30K seeds/acre in the 50% FI treatment.
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  • This is a summary13;10;of the data from extensive studies on the impact of irrigation environment and13;10;planting population on corn yields. Please contact your local Monsanto13;10;representative for information on specific corn products and test locations.
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