Farm Progress

University of Missouri Variety test plots find solid corn yields across the state.

Mindy Ward, Editor, Missouri Ruralist

November 7, 2016

3 Min Read

When the Urich site in southwest Missouri averages more than 200 bushels per acre for dryland corn, Dave Schwab knows it was a good year for corn growers.

Schwab, a University of Missouri research specialist who plants and harvests plots across the state for the MU Variety Testing Program, says the corn yields in southwest Missouri were "pretty remarkable," this year. "To me," he says, "that one stands out. over 200 bushels — holy cow."

Plot conditions
Planting and growing conditions for the 22 locations were, for the most part, ideal in 2016. Schwab planted all of the plots by the end of April, something not seen in years past when a few locations had May plantings.

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Harvest was a challenge in some locations. His crew started the first of September. "Corn was exceptionally dry at harvest," he explains. "There was some header loss when the snouts of the combine went through." Schwab found corn kernels ready to come off, resulting in shattering in some areas of the state.

Top 10 average corn yields for Missouri by region

Still, he says, plots across the state were planted and harvested on time. However, some of the testing results caught him off guard.

Range of results
All of the numbers in the Urich test plot in southwest Missouri posted more than 200 bushels, a rarity for plots in this dryland corn-growing region of the state. The top-yielding hybrid at that location was Becks 6365AM, at 228 bushels per acre.

Top 10 average corn yields for Missouri by region

And while corn hybrids in the southwest were having a solid performance year, those hybrids in the southeast struggled.

Schwab found that the area, which typically produces some of the highest-yielding corn in the testing program due to irrigation, was posting lower yields. He says that extreme heat in June and pollination issues resulted in a less-than-ideal harvest for farmers in this area.

Top 10 average corn yields for Missouri by region

The top yield in the southeast region was 267 bushels at the Charleston south location. Other area test sites saw top-end yields ranging from 235 to 258.

Top 10 average corn yields for Missouri by region

The best yield of the MU Variety Testing Program came from an irrigated plot in Columbia, at 278 bushels. The highest-yielding nonirrigated corn hybrid was NuTech X5Z-1509, at 277 bushels, grown at the Henrietta plot in Ray County.


Look to averages
Schwab says farmers should not just look at the greatest yield when making corn hybrid selections. Rather, they should analyze a number of data points, including the average top-yielding hybrids across a particular region. Farmers should also review how a certain hybrid performed over multiple years.

Top 10 average corn yields for Missouri by region

Missouri Ruralist compiled the Top 10 average corn hybrids per region and production type. They are available here. For an in-depth look at the results of MU Variety Testing Program corn trials visit varietytesting.missouri.edu.

About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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