What Yield Maps Tell You

January 7, 2010 06:00 PM

The following information is a Web Extra from the pages of Farm Journal. It corresponds with the article "Hybrid Corn Checkup” by Darrell Smith. You can find the article on page 28 of the January 2010 issue.

Yield maps are one tool you can utilize to narrow down hybrid choices. But don't rely on them too much, the experts advise, especially following an unusual growing season.
If you're going to use yield map data, accurate calibration is essential. But accurate calibration was almost impossible in many fields last season, says Wilson, because of time constraints and extreme variations in moisture, test weight and yield—often occurring within one pass across the field.
"Be cautious about relying on yield maps this year,” says Wilson. "In a cool, wet season like 2009, hybrids tend to have higher harvest moisture content and lower test weights than in a normal year.”
If you draw upon yield map data, take weather and soil moisture conditions into account,” Ferrie cautions. "Many areas have had two wet years in a row,” he says. "If you have a drought next year, you may get completely different results from your hybrids. For example, shorter statured hybrids may have suffered less from disease in wet growing conditions; but they may suffer more if you get a drought.”
"Before you give up on a hybrid based on last year's yield map results, use other data sources such as neighbors' results or local plots, as a double-check,” says Wilson.
"Based on yield maps, the best hybrid this year may not be the best hybrid next year,” says Webster. "Yield maps are more valuable in identifying variations in soil conditions than in evaluating hybrid performance. I like yield maps mostly for identifying management zones. If we place the best hybrid for the field based on other factors, management zones can show us how to improve its performance.”
There are so many factors, and so much information, to weigh when choosing hybrids that you almost have to find seedsmen you can trust and rely on their advice.
"Developing relations with local providers is crucial,” says Sorensen. "Local seed company reps have experience in a grower's back yard. As you build your own data base on your farm, it will help you work with your supplier to find the best hybrids.”
"At AgriGold, we train our sales force to knowhow each corn hybrid eats, breathes and sleeps,” says Kavanaugh. "That helps our corn specialists match the right hybrid to the right field and the growing environments of our customers. This is a practice that we have been doing for years. It requires a strong relationship between the seedsman and the grower.”

For More Information
Companies mentioned in this article:
Corn hybrid performance trials:
A wide variety of agronomic information can be found at this Purdue University site.

You can read more about Rupert's thoughts on selecting diverse corn genetics in a publication "

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