Trial Objectives:

  • With the increase in limited irrigation due to reductions in pumping capacity or restrictions on the amount of water producers can pump over a certain time frame, it is imperative that Bayer Crop Science tests products under varying irrigation rates to supply better corn product recommendations by irrigation level.
  • The objective of this study was to determine the yield response of key Fontanelle Hybrids® corn products for the region based on seeding rate and irrigation amount.

Research Site Details:

  • Four Fontanelle Hybrids® corn products were planted at 24,000, 30,000, 36,000, and 42,000 seeds/acre under full irrigation (100% irrigation) and a half irrigation rate (50% irrigation). Corn products and seeding rates were replicated two times under the 50% and 100% irrigation rates.
  • The trial was irrigated with a center pivot system with drop nozzles placed just above the crop canopy.
  • May through mid-June were dry with below normal rainfall. Another dry period followed during the first three weeks of July. Late-season rainfall (mid-August through September) was above normal.
  • Weed control was excellent.
  • 200 lb of actual nitrogen was side-dressed at the V2 stage.
  • The amount of irrigation applied per pass was 0.8 and 0.4 inches at the 100 and 50% treatments, respectively, totaling 7.7 inches in the 100% treatment and 3.85 inches in the 50% treatment.



Understanding the Results

  • Averaged across all products and seeding rates, yields were 19 bu/acre higher for the 100% irrigation than the 50% irrigation treatment. The results from 2017 were very similar.
  • The yield response to increasing irrigation was highest for the 08D988 corn product (25 bu/acre) averaged across all seeding rates, with the other entries in the 12-18 bu/acre range.
  • Product 15A657 had the highest response to increasing seeding rate, regardless of irrigation regime.
  • Product 15A738 had the highest overall yield, showing a trend for increased yield across all seeding rates in the 100% irrigation regime.

What Does This Mean for Your Farm?

  • Producers should take care in their corn product selection and seeding rate to maximize their return based on the irrigation environment in each field.
  • While yield will typically increase with increased irrigation water applied, producers should weigh the costs of applying that extra water against the increase in crop production, especially under yield-limiting conditions.
  • These data would suggest that even at reduced irrigation levels, the seeding rate should be at least 30,000 seeds/acre as there is a consistent yield and profit penalty due to under-planting, regardless of product selection.
  • Bayer Crop Science intends to repeat these trials to evaluate product response to irrigation level and seeding rate under changing environmental conditions for the 2019 season. Readers should keep in mind that these results are from one location only, and should look at results from multiple sites before drawing conclusions.
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