It was an extra challenging year for corn growers in Missouri – including University of Missouri crop researchers working at the performance test plots across the state.
"Like farmers, we hope for predictable or normal weather conditions to get our research plots planted, grown to maturity, and harvested," says Howard Mason, MU variety testing coordinator. For the fourth year in a row, Missouri did not have a normal weather year. Out of MU's 21 corn experiments, three were replanted and one in northwest Missouri was completely abandoned due to flooding.
"This was a challenging year for some Missouri corn growers, while others seemed to fair pretty well," Mason notes. The Oran test site in the Southeast region recorded the highest-yielding corn hybrid – a Pioneer 1944HR -- at 254.4 bushels per acre. The Laddonia irrigated test in the Northern region recorded a 227-bushel yield on an AgriGold A6573VT3 corn hybrid.
On a negative note, the test at Craig in northwest Missouri was lost to flooding and three other test plots had to be replanted because of poor initial stands from heavy spring rainfall. "And It was so dry in southwest Missouri that a couple of MU's cooperating farmers who irrigate actually pumped their lakes dry trying to maintain normal yields, Mason adds. The test site at Harrisonville, however, did manage to record a 206-bushel per acre yield on a Dekalb DKC62-97(GENVT3P) corn hybrid.
MU tested 212 corn hybrids at 18 test sites across the state this past year. Harvest dates ranged from Sept. 6 at the Portageville test site in southeast Missouri to Oct. 3 at the Mooresville test site in north Missouri. Three MU sites have more than one experiment -- Columbia, Harrisonville and Lamar each have an irrigated and a non-irrigated experiment.
The headquarters for the MU Variety Testing Program is the Bradford Research and Extension Center at Columbia. MU also has personnel located at the Delta Research Center near Portageville, and the Hundley-Whaley Center near Albany. The majority of its test locations are farmer fields
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All test results are on the MU website at http://varietytesting.missouri.edu. Local MU Extension offices also have printed copies of the corn performance test book.