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Farmers in Indiana's Garden Spots Question Yields

Farmers in Indiana's Garden Spots Question Yields
Farmer finds difference in pollination based on timing.

As noted last week, farmers realize that if the projection for Indiana's 2011 corn yield, at 150 bushels per acre, is to prove correct, there must be a considerable amount of high-yielding corn to offset what will likely be some disastrous yields. The problem is that even some farmers in what appears to be some of the best parts of Indiana, northwest Indiana, where farmers got to plant in early to mid May, don't believe their crops will average what their land is normally capable of. That laves them wondering, 'If not us, then who will have the yields to offset the bad crop?'

It's a legitimate question. John Kretzmeier, Fowler, has an example that makes an excellent point. He was able to plant in the early to mid-May window. His 107-100 day hybrids have produced reasonably good ears. He's looking for good yields from those fields, though certainly not record yields. That area was also hit with big rains in late May that left ponds. A 5-acre pond inn a 50-acre field cuts the average pretty quickly.

What's surprising, he notes, that he also planted a full-season, 115-day hybrid at the same time. It pollinated several days behind the other hybrids. By that time, his area was well into the 23-day streak of days that were 90 degrees F or higher, and it turned dry. When he pulls back the shucks in that field, he finds excessive cob at the tips. Some hybrids leave some blank tips even in normal years, but he's confident this is kernel abortion and tip back.

By the time the plant got around to filling the tip end of the ear, conditions were bad enough that the plant decided it\couldn't fill those kernels and still pack enough nutrients into the butt kernels to ensure that those embryos would be viable. Corps consultant Dave Nanda, also with Seed Consultants, Inc., is adamant that the plant wants to make viable kernels, not necessarily top yield. The result in this case is decent- sized ears which should have had more kernels. Instead, there's an extra dose of empty cob at the end. The tip-back and abortion of kernels will show up when figuring yield formulas. It immediately affects one of the key factors - number of kernels per row on the ear. With fewer kernels, the yield estimate automatically decreases.

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