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Maximizing Returns On Seed Corn Investments – 2013 Trial Results

Investment in corn hybrid seed is, of course, an annual necessity. Which corn population returns the most for your investment?

Michigan State University Extension educators who work with the Thumb Ag Research and Education (TARE) project evaluated optimal corn seed populations in 2013. Planted populations ranged from 30,000 seeds per acre to 44,000 seeds per acre with incremental increases of 2,000 seeds. This population study was established at two sites in Huron County, one near Pigeon, Mich., and the other near Filion, Mich. This study was similar to a series of studies established in 2008-2010 when the evaluated populations ranged from 24,000 to 38,000 seeds per acre and where 32,000 seeds per acre were found to be the most profitable population.

The corn was planted in 30-inch rows and the hybrid Great Lakes 4879VT2RIB was used. Note that the studies were established on high yielding, well-tiled loamy ground. Actual plant stands were measured June 11, 2013. The Pigeon site was planted on May 14, and the Filion site was planted on May 15. Actual populations were very similar to planted populations. See the following table.

Pigeon

Filion

Target pop

Actual pop

% of target

Target pop

Actual pop

% of target

30K

 30,750

102.5%

30K

 30,250

100.8%

32K

 31,813

99.4%

32K

 32,250

100.8%

34K

 33,625

98.9%

34K

 33,750

99.3%

36K

 35,688

99.1%

36K

 36,000

100.0%

38K

 37,250

98.0%

38K

 38,250

100.7%

40K

 38,500

96.3%

40K

 39,250

98.1%

42K

 42,813

101.9%

42K

 42,750

101.8%

44K

 43,667

99.2%

44K

 43,375

98.6%

Gross returns per acre for each population were calculated using a corn price of $4.30 per bushel and a per bag seed cost of $275. Thus, each incremental increase of 2,000 seeds increases costs $6.88 per acre and an additional 1.6 bushels per acre yield would be necessary to cover the increased seed cost. See the following tables for results.

Target pop

Pigeon

Filion

Average

Return per acre

Yield (Bu/A)

Yield (Bu/A)

Yield (Bu/A)

30K

170.9

209.9

190.4

 $715.62

32K

173.4

218.7

196.1

 $733.08

34K

174.2

222.3

198.2

 $735.58

36K

176.8

220.8

198.8

 $731.20

38K

178.9

226.6

202.7

 $741.14

40K

185.0

223.8

204.4

 $741.29

42K

174.8

225.4

200.1

 $716.16

44K

183.3

227.0

205.1

 $730.85

Average

177.2

221.8

199.5

 

Max

185.0

227.0

205.1

 

Min

170.9

209.9

190.4

 

LSD @ 0.05

11.2

13.9

14.2

 

CV (%)

3.5

3.2

4.7

 

*Bolded yields are not statistically different than highest yielding population.

At the Pigeon site, populations of 34,000 and greater yielded significantly more than the 32,000 and 30,000 populations. At the Filion site, and when yields from the two sites were averaged, all populations of 32,000 and greater yielded statistically similar and greater than the 30,000 population at the 0.05 level. Curiously, returns per acre were greatest at the 38,000 and 40,000 populations.

This study will be repeated in 2014 and 2015.

Source : msu.edu


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