Dordt College News

2006 test plots

December 12, 2006

Crop yield results from field variety trials conducted by the Dordt College Agriculture Department, Sioux Center, were released last week.

The field trials were conducted by agriculture majors in Dordt’s Field Crop Production and Management class, under the supervision of Dr. Ron Vos, professor of agriculture and chair of the Agriculture Department at Dordt College. Students who participated in the field sized-comparison study were Timothy Beahm, Remington, VA; Lucas De Groot, Oskaloosa, IA ; Justin De Jong, Lynnville, IA; Garrett Hovland, Bricelyn, MN; Michael Janssen, Ackley, IA; Matt Kooima, Rock Valley, IA; Nancy Vander Schaaf, Alton, IA; Caleb Winkel and Nelson Winkel, both of Waupun, WI. They were assisted by Mike Schouten of the Dordt Agriculture Stewardship Center.

Seventeen crop varieties from 10 companies were included in the yield trials. Participating companies were Asgrow, Ag Venture, Blue River, Croplan, Pioneer, Midwest Seed Genetics, Mycogen, Northrup King, Stine, and Viking.

Five different trials were conducted on Dordt College Ag Stewardship fields located north of Sioux Center, as well as on the south end of Dordt’s 115-acre campus. In the Dordt trials, seed varieties were planted in strips of one or two equipment-widths completely across the field. Because these narrow strips lie close to one another, field variability between treatment strips is minimized. The treatments are replicated at least four times in the field to overcome chance field differences. In addition, the order of the varieties in each block is chosen at random, avoiding a source of unconscious bias.

“To ensure accuracy and credibility of our data, we used on-farm sized comparison analysis,” said Dr. Vos. Replication, randomization and field sized strips ensure the results will be valid and applicable to farmers’ field situations. The students also used a handy “yardstick” called the “least significant difference” (LSD). If the difference between two varieties is greater than the LSD, then the difference is considered significant.

“We hope that by providing our data to farmers, they will have a valuable tool in deciding their seed choices for next year,” said Dr. Vos. He added his thanks to all those who in one way or another participated in the field trial. Results from this year’s trials are available at the Agriculture Department’s website along with last year’s results.

Field Trial 1: Soybean Cyst Nematode
For this test plot, seed varieties resistant to soybean cyst nematodes and one variety not considered resistant were planted side-by-side to determine the effect on crop yields. This plot was planted May 10 at a population rate of 163,350 seeds/acre, and harvested Oct. 4. Yield LSD (.05%): 2.3

Variety            Moisture%             Yield Bu/A
Asgrow 2107           12.1                 69.1
Asgrow 2106           11.9                 65.7
Northrup King 19-L7  12.1                 63.5
Pioneer 92M01         12.3                 66.2
Stine 2032-4           12.2                 65.6
*All varieties are SCN resistant except Asgrow 2106

Field Trial 2: Vistive Soybeans
As Americans try to reduce unhealthy trans fats from their diets, soybean seed companies have responded with seed varieties low in linolenic acid content. These low-lin soybeans produce oil with a longer shelf life, which means no need for hydrogenation (and resulting trans fat) by food manufacturers. Yields in this plot appear similar to area yields reported from conventional soybeans.

This field trial was planted May 11, harvested Oct. 17, at a population rate of 163,350 seeds/acre. Yield LSD (.05%): 2.3

Variety         Moisture%        Yield Bu/A
Asgrow 2421V        12.6                 65.7
MSG RV3190          12.7                 63.9
Stine 2303-94        12.6                 63.3

More information about low linolenic acid soybeans here.

Field Trial 3: Liberty Link Corn Yields
This trial compared varieties of genetically modified corn and the effect of Liberty herbicide on the yield. The corn plot was planted April 27, harvested Oct. 20 and seeded at a population rate of 31,100 seeds/acre. Yield LSD (.05%): 7.2

Variety           Moisture%             Yield Bu/A
Ag Venture 5625       19.8               183.5
Croplan 503              18.9               191.5
Mycogen 2D555         18.6               196.4
Northrup King 51-C1   18.3               198.3
Pioneer 35Y67           17.8               198.7

Field Trial 4: Soybean Population Plots
In the past, farmers needed to plant soybeans at high population rates to crowd out weeds. But with today’s Roundup Ready soybean varieties, less weed competition may allow farmers to plant at a lower population rate while still getting maximum yields.

In this field trial conducted in cooperation with Iowa State University Extension, a seed variety (Stine 1918) was planted at three population rates by Dordt College. A similar trial was conducted by area farmers and two high school FFA groups. The result was good news for farmers: it appears farmers can reduce seed population (and cost) while maintaining yields. The Dordt test plot was planted May 10 and harvested Oct. 4. Yield LSD (.05): 4.7

Population                  Moisture%             Yield Bu/A
125,000                       10.9                     65.8
150,000                       11.0                     66.2
174,000                       10.9                     65.8

Field Trial 5: Organic Corn Trial
Three certified organic corn varieties were compared for yields and economics on 20 acres of certified organic land in this field trial.

Ongoing corn rootworm research is being conducted on this site, where the presence of Western variant and Northern extended diapause corn rootworm beetles has been documented. The Western variant beetle was not previous believed to be present in Northwest Iowa and is cause for concern, as it appears this variant will lay eggs anywhere (not just in corn fields).

A late planting date (May 16) may have affected the yield on this plot, which was harvested Nov. 1. It was planted at a population rate of 34,484 plants/acre. Yield LSD(.05%): 27.8

Variety                Moisture%                Yield Bu/A
Blue River 3448         17.1                       132.4
Viking 6300              17.1                       106.3
Viking 5305              17.3                       127.9

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