By TIM ALEXANDER
BETHANY, Ill. — In a season of lowered expectations for Illinois and Corn Belt grain producers, the results of early- and full-season corn hybrid tests conducted at the Mike Bland farm in Moultrie County offered no surprises: Yields were down dramatically.
“The drought severely stressed all products at this site, with lower leaves dying prematurely on many harvested (corn) plants,” said Eric Beyers, central and southern Illinois seed test manager for Farmer’s Independent Research of Seed Technologies (F.I.R.S.T.), which conducted the surveys.
“Plant heights were four to six feet tall. If an ear was produced, two- to three-inch length was common.”
No matter the seed brand or variety, the size of the grain produced on the Bland farm was small with average quality, according to Beyers, adding that rainfall and yield was quite variable in the area.
The top performer in the early-season test (seeded April 27 and harvested Sept. 13) was Great Lakes’ 6087VT3PRO brand with Genuity VT Triple Pro technology, which produced 89.5 bushels per acre and a gross income of $669 per acre.
It easily out-produced runner-up Croplan’s 6125VT3 variety and its YieldGardVT Triple technology, which yielded just 71.8 bushels per acre and $548 per acre in gross income. Finishing third in the trial of 63 varieties was Steyer’s 10702-3000GT (Agrisure), with a yield of 70.5 bushels and $541 in per-acre income.
The 81 participants in F.I.R.S.T.’s full-season test of corn seed hybrids fared slightly better than their early-season counterparts. LG Seeds’ LG2620VT3 (Yieldgard VT Triple) paced the contest with 97.9 bushels acre and $739 per acre in gross income.
This bested AgriGold A6533VT3’s 90.4 bushels and $683 gross income, and FS InVISION FS 63SV4-VT3PRO’s 89.2 bushels and $672.
The average yield for the early-season test conducted on the Bland property – which consists of Drummer/Flanagan silt loam that is strip-tilled and non-irrigated – was just 40.3 bushels per acre. The average yield for all varieties in the full-season test was 54.4 bushels.
“There was an advantage to the fuller season, and that advantage was later pollination,” said Beyers. “The early-planted corn would have been trying to pollinate in the high heat of early July. The heat probably sterilized the pollen. The full-season (corn) completed pollination a little bit later.
“Those hybrids that produced above-average performed tremendously considering what they’d been through. Those products really held out.”
The lowest-yielding brand and variety in both tests was Pioneer’s P1018HR CK brand with HERCULEX I insect protection and Roundup Ready Corn 2 technologies, which produced 35.5 bushels per acre in the full-season survey and 29.1 bushels in the early-season test.