When University of Illinois' Fred Below first began his omission plot research, a lot of folks sat up and took notice.
Basically, Below subjects plots to a set number of factors known to increase yield. Then, he omits a factor from test plots in order to determine that factor's singular effect on yield.
In the past, Below has worked with five factors.
Balanced nutrition: 250 lbs of Mosaic's MicroEssentials SZ (12-40-0-10S-1Zn) and 100 lbs of P2O5
Population: 45,000 triple-stack hybrids per acre in 30-inch rows
Nitrogen: 180 lbs of SuperU, Agrotain's encapsulated urea product
More nitrogen: sidedress another 60 lbs of SuperU at V3
Fungicide: a strobilurin fungicide applied at flowering
This high-tech treatment is compared to what Below calls a standard package. The standard package includes: 1. Fall fertilizer application based on nutrient removal. 2. 180 lbs of spring urea. 3. A triple-stack hybrid planted at 32,000 plants per acre.
The standard package posted an average yield of 190 bushels per acre. The high-tech package averaged 240 bushels per acre. While some growers may want to pick and choose points of the high-tech package, Below says some of the treatments are not optional.
"If you plant 45,000 plants without the added fertility, those plants will be on the ground," Below adds.
Channel's Dan Parker agrees it's risky to simply boost plant populations without providing additional nutrients or protection. For additional information, check out www.7wondersofcorn.com.