The Crop Watch contest is in the books. Many of you guessed the yield of an anonymous field in the Eastern Corn Belt. Following its progress from start to finish in print and on the magazine Website apparently gave you good clues.
The 35-acre field yielded 248.9 bushels per acre. It was planted on May 5 at variable populations matching soil types. Two hybrids were planted to spread risk – one on one side of the planter and one on the other.
Too much rain early caused ponding, but the area affected was small.
Soils were silt loams and level to gently sloping. Drainage on part of the field is naturally somewhat or poorly drained. The field has some tile.
From June 1 forward, rainfall and temperatures were nearly ideal for corn. Because it had plenty of nitrogen and disease didn't come in until very late, it was one of the last fields in its neighborhood to turn brown last fall.
Fields around the Crop Watch '14 field either turned yellow from nitrogen shortage, showed significant signs of disease or both. However, even many of other fields nearby produced very good yields, too.
Perhaps the biggest lesson learned, says Dave Nanda, crops consultant for Seed Consultants, Inc., is that everyone saw what modern genetics can do when conditions are favorable. Most ears were filled to the tip, Nanda notes. There were differences in rows of kernels per ear between the hybrids. That was due to genetics, he says. However, there were also differences in kernel depth and ear length.
Even in a good year like this one, a favorable environment can't totally override a strong genetic trait like number of kernels per row, Nanda says. However, the ear usually compensates by making a longer ear, if it a flexible type, or filling deeper kernels.
Check back Friday, Dec 19, for the final edition of Crop Watch '14 here on the Web. We will post the winners you will be receiving seed form Seed Consultants, Inc. at that time.