The 2007 growing season was a great one, unless you happened to be in one of those areas of the state where the rain wouldn't quit. Or maybe you were caught in an area where rain just wouldn't fall. Despite Missouri's unpredictable weather, yields at most sites in the Missouri 2007 Corn Performance Tests ended up at or above average.
Plots in the north region had a particularly tough summer. "The test at Craig, in northwest Missouri, was planted on May 23 and was flooded a few weeks later when the levee on the Tarkio River was breeched," reports Howard Mason, MU crop variety testing research specialist. The irrigated test at Harrisonville was planted on April 24 and for the next 60 days received 23.2 inches of rain. "These two experiments were abandoned because the plants that were left were few and far between and it was too late to replant," he says.
Yields in the north region were average or below at all locations except LaGrange, where yields averaged 228 bushels per acre.
On the other extreme, the test at Truxton was planted on May 14 and for the rest of the summer only received about 8 inches of rainfall. That experiment was harvested, but yields averaged only 73.7 bushels per acre.
European corn borers also threw a curve at this year's hybrids, as pressure was heavy at most sites in north and central Missouri. Mason points out that this contributed to significant lodging at several locations.
Irrigated corn tests in central, southwest, and southeast Missouri continued to perform well. "Over the last few years, irrigation has boosted corn yields by about 72 bushels an acre at locations where we test both irrigated and non-irrigated corn hybrids," Mason says.
Variety selection continues to be the main point promoted by MU Variety Testing. "Simply by studying our report, a producer can increase the likelihood of selecting a hybrid that will perform well the subsequent year," Mason says. "Be sure to evaluate your selections at multiple locations and/or multiple years to increase the precision of your decision."
For all the corn test data, visit the Web site: agebb.missouri.edu/cropperf/vartest. You can read the report in the December issue of Missouri Ruralist. It also can be obtained in CD version from the MU agronomy plant sciences unit office at (573) 882-2307, or visit your local Extension office for a free copy.