By KEVIN WALKER
DECATUR, Mich. — Two corn seed tests in the southwestern portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula told two very different stories about last summer’s weather, as well as the risks involved in being a farmer.
The tests were conducted by the Farmer’s Independent Research of Seed Technologies (F.I.R.S.T.), a firm based in Illinois. One test was done at the farm of Mike Stamp, located in Decatur. Van Buren County borders Lake Michigan on one side, though Decatur is somewhat inland.
In his report F.I.R.S.T. Site Manager Rich Schleuning said a “cool and damp spring delayed planting until mid-May. The later planting date was a good thing, as pollination missed the extreme heat in late June to early July.
“Great grain and stalk quality, with no disease present” was how he described the crop. “Even with irrigation, yield variance across the field was still present.”
The No. 1 yielding corn seed at the Decatur site was Steyer variety 10403VT3PRO, with 217.1 bushels an acre, gross income per acre of $1,564, moisture of 22.8 percent and a stand of 31,500 plants per acre.
The second-yielding brand was AgriGold A6384VT3Pro with a yield of 204.7 bushels, gross income of $1,472, moisture of 23.3 percent and a stand of 31,500. Taking third place, AgriGold A6389VT3Pro had a yield of 198.8 bushels, gross income of $1,423, moisture of 24.6 percent and a stand of 30,800.
The other test was done at the farm of Jeff and Greg Fountain, in Calhoun County in Marshall, which is northeast of Decatur.
The test there was somewhat of a bust. According to Schleuning, the drought shortened the crop height to a maximum of 5 feet, 9 inches.
“Ear placement was knee-high or shorter,” he said. “There was fusarium and penicillum ear rot present. Kernel red streak was present from all the stress. Raccoons destroyed two replications of a couple of hybrids, eliminating them from the report.”
Coming in first, yield-wise, was Channel variety 202-32STX with a production of 79.4 bushels an acre, gross income per acre of $564, moisture of 27.1 percent and a stand of 29,500.
No. 2 was Dairyland variety DS9303SSX, with a yield of 78.6 bushels, gross income of $563, moisture of 24.7 percent and a stand of 29,500. Third was G2 Genetics 5H-0504, with a yield of 75.9 bushels, gross income of $540 per acre, moisture of 26.7 percent and a stand of 29,500.