What is in this article?:
- Sunlight is a major key to high corn, soybean yields
- How to grow 400 bushels of corn, 100 bushels of soybeans per acre?
- Can we get plant populations up and still build seed weight?
- If a farmer can get light to the bottom of the canopy during critical grain fill, he can increase seed weight and you can increase yield significantly.
- Soybean plants can store sugar from photosynthesis for later use.
- Future efforts to increase and sustain grain crop yields in the Southeast must include a good pest management program.
FOR HIGH YIELDS, corn and soybean plants need to get as much light as possible into the canopy during critical growth periods.
When David Hula grew 429 bushels of corn per acre on a small contest plot near Charles City, Va., he made international news and created a nationwide quest to find out how he did it.
Likewise, Kip Culler in Missouri set off a chain reaction of research when he recorded a record 161 bushels of soybeans per acre.
Since those lofty yield records, farmers, university researchers and industry scientists have been on a quest to figure out how to consistently produce these ultra-high yields.
One of those in the hunt is North Carolina State University Extension Specialist Ronnie Heiniger.
Last year, Heiniger planted a test he called, appropriately, Hula 400. His quest to grow 400 bushels per acre corn fell a bit short, despite using an expensive array of chemicals that he called The Cadillac Treatment.
Despite failing to notch 400 bushels per acre, the North Carolina State scientist did manage to average better than 300 bushels per acre across the large test site, including many plots that had much less expensive treatments than the Cadillac Treatment.
From a practical standpoint the 2012 Hula 400 tests at the Northeast Ag Expo were a big success. Growers got some good insights on how to grow 300 bushel per acre corn.
But, the 400 bushels per acre eluded the North Carolina State researchers, much as it has eluded others in the Midwest.
At the 2013 Northeast Ag Expo, Heiniger tried his hand at producing ultra-high soybean yields, working with North Carolina State Soybean Specialist Jim Dunphy.
As with the Hula 400 tests, the North Carolina State researchers got good results, but don’t expect record breaking yields in soybean tests this year.